Keno-style lottery game overhaul keeps NJ lawmaker worried
A new keno-style lottery game in New Jersey has been causing Democratic Rep. Ralph Caputo sleepless nights.
The Sun Herald reported the Caputo is concerned that the new Quick Draw keno-style lottery game, which was introduced six months ago, would draw business away from Atlantic City’s casinos.
Caputo said former Republican Gov. Chris Christie gave short notice to lawmakers when he decided to allow the lottery game. Quick Draw, which can be purchased for a minimum price of $1 and a $10 maximum, was rolled out in bars and restaurants in August.
To shield the casinos from possible negative impact, Caputo co-sponsored a bill that would essentially cut Quick Draw’s drawings from every five minutes to just twice daily.
“It’s a sensitive issue. We’re talking about market share in gaming,” Caputo said, according to the news outlet. “Anytime there’s a new game it could take market share away from an existing casino.”
Only two people testified during the committee hearing: Greater Atlantic City Chamber of Commerce legislative affairs Director Bob Marshall and New Jersey Licensed Beverage Association Executive Director Diane Weiss. Lottery and Treasury representatives were no-shows.
Marshall threw his support behind the legislation, claiming that the game expands casino-style gaming, while Weiss opposed the bill because Quick Draw has become a boon for the vendors she represents.
She pointed out that customers tend to order more food and beverages in bars and restaurants while playing the new lottery game.
In January, the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement reported that Atlantic City casinos posted their second straight year of revenue growth, generating $2.41 billion in 2017. All seven Atlantic City casinos posted annual revenue gains last year.
New Jersey Lottery ticket sales, on the other hand, ended their seven-year streak of record sales in 2017. Data showed that the state lottery earned $3.186 billion in ticket sales in fiscal 2017 compared to $3.289 billion in the 2016 fiscal year.
Sales fell $30 million short of budget projections last year.
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