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Keno on the Town Meeting ballot in Pembroke

Union Leader Correspondent

January 17. 2018 11:41PM

PEMBROKE — Pembroke will join the growing list of towns asking voters whether they’re in favor of allowing Keno in local businesses.

Pembroke Selectmen have opted to put a warrant article on the ballot to allow Keno, a game meant to help raise money for full-day kindergarten programs in the state.

“That (article) will be going forward,” said Town Administrator David Jodoin, at a recent budget committee meeting.

About 20 other communities — including Derry, Hooksett, Hampton and Salem — are putting a similar warrant article before voters at the upcoming Town Meeting, according to lottery officials.

There are already 40 locations in six communities offering Keno, including Manchester and Nashua. Other communities, like Franklin, Laconia, Somersworth, Berlin and Claremont have also approved Keno.

The game is offered in bars, taverns or restaurants — any place that has an active liquor pouring license.

Keno was made a funding source for full-day kindergarten programs this past summer when Gov. Chris Sununu signed Senate Bill 191 into law.

As Keno revenues grow, so could the amount of support provided to communities, even those who don’t have the game.

Another law sined by Sununu this year uses revenue raised by Keno to provided communities statewide with an extra $1,000 per student to help fund full-day kindergarten. Right now, the state budget provides communities with $1,800 per student, which only covers a half day program.

Charles McIntyre, the executive director for the New Hampshire Lottery, has been reaching out to the municipalities throughout the state, offering to give presentations about Keno and answer any questions.

In the first month, more than $532,000 has been wagered in the game. Between the Dec. 15 opening day and Jan. 6, locations with Keno averaged about $578 in sales daily.

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