Hearing On Bill To Repeal Keno

Text by Christopher Keating, Hartford Courant; video by Tim Lammers, FOX CT

Armed with newly released e-mails from the governor’s budget office, a Republican state senator says that Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s administration was discussing the creation of keno gambling at least nine days before it was revealed publicly to rank-and-file legislators last year in the final state budget.

Sen. Kevin Witkos, a member of the legislative committee that oversees gambling, sought the public documents through a Freedom of Information request and received 77 pages of emails and memos.

Malloy has said he personally did not know about the behind-the-scenes keno discussions, but an email shows that his budget team was talking about it on May 21, 2013 – more than a week before Republicans blasted keno as a bad idea to raise revenue.

“The governor has repeatedly stated that keno was not his idea,” Witkos said. “However, his top officials had advance knowledge of the plans for keno and provided the language for the legislature’s budget.”

After Witkos released dozens of pages of emails, Malloy said he was not involved in the behind-the-scenes keno talks.

“If you’re asking about the administration – me? – I was not involved, and in point of fact, I had rejected the idea last year, and that’s why it wasn’t included in my package,” Malloy said.

The legislature’s public safety committee has scheduled a public hearing Tuesday on House Bill 5387, which would repeal the keno law that is still currently on the books.

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