There may be two new forms of revenue coming into the state of Kentucky, in the form of gaming. Friday, the Kentucky Lottery Board approved the go ahead to bring Keno and Internet lottery to the state.
"Everyone knows the Commonwealth needs revenues. Nobody wants to raise taxes," said Todd Hollenbach, board member and Kentucky's Treasurer. "What we're doing is offering more opportunities for entertainment dollars."
It's got self-proclaimed "lottery fanatic" Lavetta Hoosier excited. She says she plays the lottery everyday, but would try out Keno if available. "Keno was started from a regular like Bingo game and I was Bingo fanatic."
Arch Gleason, Kentucky Lottery President and CEO, described it as a game similar to Bingo.
"It's a drawing of balls from a field of 80," said Gleason. "The lottery would buy an electronic drawing process, draw 20 balls and players could chose to play matching 1 to 10. The prizes depend on the number of balls they choose. For playing one ball, they probably get their money back on a one dollar wager. If they chose to play for ten, which are much higher odds of matching, they can win $120,000."
Hollenbach said it would take between six and nine months to get Keno halls set up. They hope to have it available by 2014. After that is established, they would move to the online gaming, including online scratch-off tickets.
The Keno halls would go in social settings like restaurants, bars and bowling alleys according to Gleason, who said they would reach out to their current retailers first, then offer it to new businesses. To be effective, Gleason said they'd need about 700 locations total.
"Over time, we think when they're both fully developed it could aggregate as much as $85 million on an annual basis, but that takes about ten years," said Gleason.
In Fiscal Year 2012, Kentucky Lottery provided $216 million to scholarship programs. For right now, both Gleason and Hollenbach said the money coming from Keno and online games would go to the same place. But considering the idea came about to help with Kentucky's revenue issues, some wonder if the money could it be rerouted?
"The Legislature would specifically have to act to authorize the revenue to go to a different direction," said Gleason.
The spokesperson for Senate President Robert Stivers said introducing legislation for something like that is not something he would be looking to do. House Speaker Greg Stumbo did not respond.
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