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Nashua residents to vote on Keno Nov. 7

Union Leader Correspondent

September 13. 2017 11:54PM

NASHUA — Local residents will vote this November on whether to allow Nashua establishments to operate Keno gaming.

With little discussion, aldermen voted Tuesday to place the matter on the ballot this fall.

Gov. Chris Sununu recently signed a bill to fund full-day kindergarten by taxing newly authorized Keno games in New Hampshire. Nashua is one of several communities in the state to consider allowing Keno gaming.

The bill guarantees $1,100 per student each year, linked entirely to the revenue from Keno. But as the gaming revenue rises over the years, the state per-pupil grant could rise to $1,800 per student.

The program is voluntary, and Keno will only be implemented in communities where voters approve the measure either by a town meeting or citywide referendum.

In Nashua, aldermen have decided to use the municipal election on Nov. 7 as an opportunity for voters to decide. Other smaller communities may opt to place the question on their local ballots in March or April.

Brian McCarthy, president of the Board of Aldermen, told his colleagues that a public hearing must now be held on the matter 15 to 30 days prior to the election.

The board opted to schedule a public hearing for 7 p.m. on Oct. 10, which will provide residents with a platform to express their support or opposition to Keno gaming in the Gate City.

“Five of the largest Keno retailers are in Massachusetts along the border,” Charles McIntyre, director of the New Hampshire Lottery Commission, told city officials last month, adding New Hampshire could garner a profit of $9 to $15 million annually for kindergarten education if Keno is adopted by communities statewide.

The New Hampshire State Lottery would regulate and administer the game and approve which bars and restaurants could have it. A liquor license is required, as well as a background check, of any establishment seeking to install Keno.

The profits from Keno will flow into the Education Trust Fund to support full-day kindergarten aid to public schools, meaning a city or town that adopts Keno may generate more profit for public schools than it would receive in full-day kindergarten grants.

Nashua Mayor Jim Donchess said earlier that he does not know much about Keno gaming, but said it is important to let the voters decide whether this should be operational at Nashua establishments.

McIntyre said last month that if Nashua voters decide to adopt Keno gaming, the city will also benefit through additional retail sales such as beer and sandwiches at participating establishments.

Education Local and County Government Nashua


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