More than 40 bars and restaurants across New Hampshire started offering the electronic bingo game Keno Friday. It was the first day the game became legal in the state.
Billy’s Sports Bar and Grill in Manchester opened early Friday just so customers could start playing Keno.
Owner Billy LaBerge said three hours in, more than 50 people already played.
“It’s been great – I usually open at 11:30, but I opened at 11 today because the first [game] was at 11. There were people waiting to come in and they were playing right when they came in – everyone was playing, everyone was having fun," he said. "First person to play – played four numbers and she won 60 bucks in the first game.”
Seven New Hampshire cities now allow Keno in designated bars and restaurants. The communities include Nashua, Laconia, Franklin and Somersworth.
Charlie McIntyre, head of the N.H. Lottery, said the launch has been going great.
“We had anticipated that the day would be slow, it was kind of a soft launch, we wanted to make sure the tech worked, the hardware worked, the software worked. But we are thousands, of thousands, of thousands of dollars ahead of where we thought we would be," McIntyre said.
The state Lottery Commission is still accepting applications daily. Most towns will vote whether to allow Keno in March. Businesses collect 8 percent of all Keno sales with the rest of the revenue going to help pay for full-day kindergarten programs statewide.
State law allows Keno to be sold from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily.