Bill aims to stop lottery keno game

ATLANTIC CITY — A new keno being offered by the New Jersey Lottery Commission essentially expands casino-style gaming outside the resort, according to legislation introduced by Assemblyman Vince Mazzeo, D-Atlantic.

In the proposed legislation, Mazzeo seeks to block the state lottery from introducing Quick Draw, a keno-style game for the lottery. Earlier this month the state lottery announced 400 locations across the state will soon offer the game.

“The State Lottery is grossly overstepping their authority by essentially expanding casino style gambling to bars and restaurants outside of Atlantic City. Having keno drawings every 5 minutes is a clear end around the spirit of the 1970 State Lottery constitutional amendment,” Mazzeo said in a news release. Quick Draw was approved by the Lottery Commission as a game to be played primarily in bars, restaurants, bowling alleys and other locations where players spend time dining or socializing.

In keno, players wager by choosing numbers ranging from 1 through 80. After all players make their wagers, 20 numbers are drawn at random, either with a ball machine similar to ones used for lotteries and bingo, or with a random-number generator.

Mazzeo’s bill would limit lottery drawings to two per day per game.

Judith L. Drucker, spokeswomen for the Lottery Commission, declined to comment on Mazzeo’s bill.

In November, voters rejected a plan to expand gambling beyond Atlantic City.

“The residents of the state of New Jersey overwhelmingly opposed the expansion of casino gaming,” Mazzeo said. “The state lottery doesn’t get to override the voice of the people. I will continue to staunchly oppose, as I always have, any effort that expands gambling outside of Atlantic City.”