Bill Created to Stop New Keno Game Offered by NJ Lottery

by Jim Hall

Assemblyman Vince Mazzeo has created a proposal to stop a new keno game launched by the lottery due to its casino gaming style.

Offering new gaming options in any state within the US can be tough. There are legal hurdles to go through and each state has their own set of rules and regulations that have to followed in order for a new game to be offered. For the most part, gaming operators have some leeway but they can come up against opposition if another venue, competitor or even regulators or lawmakers feel the game is not legally allowed to be offered. The most recent issue in this regard comes from the state of New Jersey. A keno game launched by the state Lottery Commission is under fire by an Assemblyman who claims the new game is illegally expanding on casino-style gaming.

Proposed Legislation to Block the Game

Vince MazzeoAssemblyman Vince Mazzeo has proposed a new measure that would see the new keno game blocked, as he believes the game is expanding on casino style gaming outside a resort. In New Jersey, only casinos in Atlantic City can offer casino style gaming options. Mazzeo wants to see the new keno game known as Quick Draw not allowed. The New Jersey Lottery Commission introduced the new lottery game earlier in the month and announced that 400 locations within the state would be offering Quick Draw soon.

In a news release on the subject, Mazzeo stated that the State Lottery is overstepping their authority by expanding with casino style gambling by adding the new game to restaurants and bars located outside of Atlantic City. The Assemblyman stated that keno drawings taking place every five minutes is a ‘clear end around the spirit of the 1970 State Lottery constitutional amendment’.

The new game was approved by the Lottery Commission as a game that would be offered in such establishments as restaurants, bowling alleys, bars and other places where players could enjoy the game, while socializing or dining.

 A Look at Keno

The game of keno is often one offered in states across the US and is primarily considered a lottery style game. When playing, customers choose a number from 1 to 80, choosing a certain number of numbers. Once the wager is made, 20 numbers will be drawn at random. The drawing can take place with a random number generator or with a ball machine. Players who match the numbers drawn win a prize.

With the bill proposed by Mazzeo, the lottery drawings would take place only two times per day per game. The Lottery Commission has yet to comment on the bill proposed by Mazzeo.

The Assemblyman is not prepared to back down and cited the rejection of voters in November towards a plan to expand gambling beyond the realm of Atlantic City as part of his reasoning behind the proposal. Mazzeo commented that the residents of New Jersey voted in opposition, overwhelmingly, that they do not want to see casino gaming expand beyond this area of the state.

The Assemblyman further said that the state lottery does not have the authority to override the voice of the people and he will continue to be in opposition of the game and any effort of expanding gambling outside of Atlantic City.

It will now be interesting to see if the lottery responds and what will become of the bill created by Mazzeo. Will he have enough support to take on the new game or will the lottery win out and be able to continue with the launch of the new keno game?