New Jersey follows Maryland with keno games

January 15, 1993|By New York Times News Service

TRENTON, N.J. -- Hoping to realize $100 million more annually in lottery revenue, New Jersey is following in Maryland's footsteps with the addition of computerized keno to its assortment of numbers games.

Starting in the spring, keno will be available in 200 to 300 establishments such as restaurants, taverns and convenience stores in eight counties, said Eugene McNany, chairman of the state Lottery Commission. If this trial run is successful, he said yesterday, the game could be expanded to as many as 2,200 agents in all 21 counties.

Although the commission needs no legislative approval to introduce keno, its plans can be vetoed by Gov. Jim Florio. But there was no indication that the administration, which needs money to close a seemingly ever-present budget gap, opposes it. A spokesman for the governor, Jon Shure, said Mr. Florio would reserve judgment until after the trial period.

Keno will be the sixth quick-numbers game for the state lottery, which had gross sales last year of $1.36 billion. Of that, $574 million was allotted for education and related programs.

Because the lottery can offer a variety of new products without first resorting to a lengthy process of public hearings, there was little in the way of vociferous organized resistance, or support.

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