Portsmouth, Rochester Make Opposite Plays on Keno

Sep 6, 2017

The cities of Rochester and Portsmouth made opposite moves on Keno Tuesday night.

The state’s new Keno law leaves it up to communities to decide whether to allow the electronic gambling game in their restaurants and bars.

In Portsmouth, city councilors voted 7-2 not to put Keno on the ballot this November.

Councilor Nancy Pearson was among the no votes.

“We had a handful of members of the restaurant community in the room tonight, and they walked out. Nobody wants this.”

Keno could still end up on the ballot in Portsmouth if 5% of the city’s registered voters sign a petition.

Meanwhile in Rochester, city councilors took the opposite approach, voting to 12-1 to join a handful of other cities whose residents will decide the fate of keno in November.

The majority of the money raised by keno will pay for full day kindergarten programs in the state. Cities and towns do not have to approve keno to receive the money.