Keno

By: Erica Hurtt
By: Erica Hurtt

An Illinois lawmaker tours the stateline to drum up support for quick draw lotto. Moline democrat, Mike Boland, is urging local leaders and Gov. Blagojevich to bring Keno machines to Illinois to fill a budget hole, but some sparks flew at Thursday's press conference when the representative faced opposition from some local residents.

Lottery games are nothing new to Illinois, but a state representative wants to bring a new lotto game to the state. On a visit to Rockford, democrat Mike Boland said Keno is a sure bet to help fill Illinois’s gapping budget hole.

"We either have to come up with creative ideas like this one or raise taxes which nobody ever wants to do or we make further cuts," says Boland.

Keno works a lot like lottery, where players pick numbers and try to match them to a computer's picks. But keno drawings take place every five minutes. Legislation isn't needed to bring the new game to Illinois.

"All it requires is a go-ahead by the lottery system and by the governor," Boland also says.

Some local residents and activists turned out for the press conference but didn't get a warm reception and the representative wouldn't answer their questions.

"We were hoping to be able to have a dialogue," says Lee Schreir.

"I don't know why he came. I think he's putting his finger in the wind to see if people will support it and then maybe he will. This is not a good idea," John Boryk says.

Boland says Keno will generate $130 million a year for the state, but these citizens say it will come a high price to citizens who often become addicted and their communities.

Boland also took his message to Freeport and Dekalb Thursday. He says northwest Illinois shares many of the same problems that this money could be used to remedy. The approval of the governor and the state lottery system could bring Keno to state convenience stores and possible bars and restaurants. Ten U.S. states offer keno as a part of their lottery games.


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