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Keno Gaining Ground in Towns, But Losing Some in State House



The Town Meeting numbers are in: the electronic gambling game Keno is coming to at least 18 more towns this year, bumping the total of New Hampshire towns and cities allowing the game to 84.

Two more towns - Conway and Merrimack - will decide on Keno during local elections in April.

The state approved the game in 2017, but left it up to voters to decide whether to allow the game in their local bars and restaurants.

In January, the New Hampshire Lottery Commission launched a corporate campaign to boost support for Keno, pointing to the increase in revenue at establishments that carry the game and to the millions in revenue headed for full-day kindergarten.

But some lawmakers are having second thoughts about the state’s reliance on Keno revenue for education aid.

Several bills at the State House - HB 184 and SB 266 - would boost kindergarten funding from alternative sources and take Keno out of the equation. The bills' supporters say even with more towns approving it, the game is an unreliable source of funding, and it preys on people with gambling addiction.

Sarah Gibson joined NHPR's newsroom in 2018. She reports on education and demographics.

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