Ohio's finance director said on December 2nd, 2009 that a decline in keno earnings will not affect the financing of Omaha's new downtown stadium. Keno earnings are one of the largest sources of financing for the downtown stadium. But they have taken a considerable hit recently.
Ohio officials have speculated on the reasons why keno earnings have declined and two include the statewide smoking ban and the financial crisis. But Ohio officials were quick to reassure state residents that taxes will not increase despite the keno situation.
Finance Director Pam Spaccarotella said that they were safeguards that were put into effect to prevent any tax increases that will only burden tax payers. Spaccarotella said that one thing the safeguards did was provide a variety of other revenue sources to fund the downtown stadium and by spreading the risk.
Of the $16 million needed to finance the stadium in 2011, about $2 million is budgeted to come from keno earnings. Spaccarotella said that the revenues will fall about $200,000 short of the projected budget.
She said that the good news about the situation is that the drop-off has appeared to be bottomed out and the revenues are beginning to appreciate again. She added that state residents will hopefully be in the Christmas spirit and will spend their extra on keno.
Spaccarotella said that her department will be closely monitoring the keno funds but they do not expect to make any major adjustments to the financing plan of the stadium.