New Hampshire: Keno makes its way on the Portsmouth ballot for the third time

October 26, 2023
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Residents have previously voted against allowing keno within the city limits.

Keno gambling will once again be a topic on the Portsmouth, New Hampshire ballot, according to a local news report in the Portsmouth Herald. Next month’s municipal election will raise the question to voters for the third time.

Local restaurant owners and members of the city’s charitable organizations have lobbied to pass a law allowing keno gambling.

Portsmouth residents have addressed this topic on their ballots twice before. Keno failed to win the popular vote by a narrow margin of 121 votes during the 2021 Portsmouth election, with 2,649 voting in favor of keno and 2,770 voting against the game.

Residents also struck down keno in the 2019 election with a larger group voting against the game. According to the city clerk’s office, the vote results were 2,967 against and 2,454 in favor of allowing keno in Portsmouth.

The New Hampshire Lottery Commission recently reported that there are close to 250 locations around the state that offer keno to players.

Keno gambling is currently available in Seabrook, Hampton, Rollinsford and Rochester, the local report said. Lottery officials reported that Keno brings in more than $50m per year in sales, with local destinations receiving 8% commission.

In other state news, the New Hampshire Lottery Commission reached an agreement with former State Senator and Concord Casino owner Andy Sanborn following his call for a public hearing, according to an NHPR local report.

The new agreement will allow Sanborn an additional eight weeks to prepare a defense. The commission also agreed to “step aside and allow someone from a different state agency to preside over Sanborn’s revocation hearing” and take on a heavier burden of proof regarding taking Sanborn’s license.

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