Pro gambling Republican State Senator Kevin Mullin wants more state-sponsored gambling. He says if he had his way he’d have a casino at Killington Ski area, but he knows the odds are against that happening. So, hoping to win a different prize in the final days of the legislature, the Senator finagled a provision into a budget bill. According to VTDigger.com the last minute provision requires the Vermont State Lottery commission to issue a report in November studying the computerized bingo game Keno. In computerized Keno players try to match 10 out of 20 randomly generated numbers to total 80, and winners are chosen every four minutes. Intralot, the Greece-based lottery operator that Vermont contracts with, offers Keno in other states. The multi-national gambling corporation boasts that it “has become an international protagonist in the lottery sector.” Sen. Mullin says:
“Nobody likes gambling, but the reality is, people will leave the state to go gambling elsewhere. I think it’s worth exploring.”
He claims if we don’t have Keno here people will leave the state to lose their money. Massachusetts, New York and Rhode Island feature Keno but New Hampshire does not. Mullin’s apparent ‘logic’ is that by adding Keno, we would stop Vermonters from going to NY, MA and RI for their gambling fix, but reap the rewards out of the pockets of our neighbors coming from NH – at least until New Hampshire wised up. Increasing state lottery betting is proving a bad way to raise a few bucks. One study from 2010 found that households with take home incomes of less than $13,000 spent on average $685.00 a year on lottery tickets. And economists note that this “game” takes money from those least able to afford the loss and redistributes money upward.
These billions also are diverted away from local businesses – with the exception of the stores where tickets are sold. “This is exactly the opposite of the kind of economic stimulus a depressed economy needs,”
Expanding Vermont’s current offering of ten lottery games at 700 outlets to include the fast paced online bingo would need approval from the House, where it faces solid opposition from Speaker Shap Smith and Ways and Means Chair Janet Ancel. Odds are for now, lottery protagonist Mullin has placed a losing bet.