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Portsmouth to vote on Keno, Nashua on sports book gambling

Keno sign in Portsmouth NH
Dan Tuohy
Keno sign outside Clipper Tavern in Portsmouth, N.H. The city election is Nov. 2, 2021.

Most city elections in New Hampshire are on Nov. 2, 2021. And gambling's on the ballot in some places.

Voters in Portsmouthwill once again decide whether to allow KENO at restaurants and establishments. The question is on the ballot for city elections Tuesday.

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In Nashua, voters will decide whether to permit the operation of physical sports gambling retail locations within city limits.

Jeff Goss, owner of The Clipper Tavern on Pleasant Street in Portsmouth, says it would be “shameful” for Portsmouth to reject Keno, the bingo-like electronic games, when other communities have had success with it.

“With COVID and everything that has happened to the restaurant industry it's another way to help rebuild, bring more people in, increase your lunch and dinner crowds,” he says.

By the numbers:

  • 84 towns and cities have approved Keno 603to date
  • 190 establishments currently sell the game
  • 513 — the number of votes the ballot question in Portsmouth lost by in 2019 (that vote was 2,967 to 2,454.
  • Keno has generated more than $16.6 million in sales this fiscal year

According to the N.H. Lottery:

  • Since the start of sports betting in N.H., more than 65,000 players have registered and placed more than 18 million wagers totaling nearly $730 million. The New Hampshire Lottery, with its sports betting provider, DraftKings, launched mobile sports betting in late 2019. Since that time, the Lottyer and DraftKings have opened three retail sportsbook locations in Dover, Manchester and Seabrook.
  • In Keno, players choose from one to 12 numbers and every five minutes a computer randomly generates and displays 20 winning numbers from 1 to 80 on a TV monitor. A player can place a wager from $1 to $25 per game.
Dan is a long-time New Hampshire journalist who has written for outlets including Foster's Daily Democrat, The Citizen of Laconia, The Boston Globe, and The Eagle-Tribune. He comes to NHPR from the New Hampshire Union Leader, where he reported on state, local, and national politics.

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