A group in Nebraska has been circulating petitions and gathering signatures in an effort to have the state authorize video keno machines under the existing Nebraska County and City Lottery Act.
Nebraskans for Video Keno has been on the move since March 1, 2006 aiming for the issuance of keno on the ballot for Nebraskan voters on November 7, 2006.
A similar initiative has been voted down in 2004. The 2004 initiatives involved changes to the constitution which would have authorized casinos and slot machines. This initiative, on the other hand, does not change the constitution merely giving keno players another way to play the game of keno.
Local Nebraska keno operator are the sponsors and people behind this initiative saying that the measure is good for local communities and for local businesses offering keno.
Under the initiative, the same entities that currently regulate keno - The Nebraska Department of Revenue and the respective local communities, will still retain regulatory powers.
The group urges communities to support this initiative. According to them, the initiative gives an additional option to raise community betterment revenue. Communities have the option whether to participate in this form of revenue coming from keno.
According to the groups website, "community betterment" is defined in the following way: "This initiative doesn't change the definition of 'community betterment'. Your local community decides how to spend keno money to make the community a better place to live. For example, keno has provided funding for Omaha's Zoo and the Qwest Center. Keno has funded parks, libraries, sports facilities, public safety, street and sidewalk improvements, and a wide variety of important public projects in communities across Nebraska. Keno revenue can also be used for tax relief.
A community is set to get a video keno if the community has already authorized live keno. If the local community does not already have live keno, it will need an authorizing election and a state license.
Under the initiative, taxes will be broken down in such a way that 27% stays with the City for community betterment. 9% goes to the State for regulation and gamblers assistance. This is the same tax plan approved by voters in 2004.
The initiative does not limit the number of keno machines. The number and location of machines is determined by local control.
According to the group no casinos are involved and that this is a grassroots initiative sponsored and paid for by local keno operators.
Thursday, August 17 , 2006