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Conn. Lawmakers Seek To Repeal Keno Authorization Amid Budget Surplus

A man plays video keno (file/credit: Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

A man plays video keno (file/credit: Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

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HARTFORD, Conn. (CBSNewYork/AP)Legal keno in Connecticut may be dead in the water before it ever takes effect, due to the state’s budget surplus.

Democratic House speaker Rep. Brendan Sharkey of Hamden announced Wednesday he will work to repeal the law authorizing the introduction of keno.

As WCBS 880 Connecticut Bureau Chief Fran Schneidau reported, back when the state faced a huge hole in its budget, the game seemed like a good way to bring in some badly needed revenue.

But Sharkey said revenue from the bingo-style game is no longer needed to help balance a state budget that now has a $500 million projected surplus.

“So it’s not universally loved but it was what we thought we needed to do to close the budget gap,” Sharkey told Schneidau. “Given the fact that we have a little bit more flexibility in our budget, my feeling is let’s go ahead and repeal it now before it goes into effect given all of the negative feelings about it.”

The game found in supermarkets, gas stations, convenience stores, bars and restaurants in neighboring states was authorized by Connecticut’s General Assembly in June as part of a deal to balance the budget.

Governor Dannel P. Malloy said last week it was not his idea to bring keno terminals to the state and suggested he would sign a bill to repeal the legislation if one reaches his desk. A bill to repeal keno has been introduced by Sen. Andrea Stillman of Waterford.

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