Senate committee votes to kill keno lottery game STATE HOUSE REPORT

February 24, 1993|By Tom Bowman | Tom Bowman,Staff Writer

A state Senate committee voted yesterday to kill keno, the controversial electronic lottery game.

But while lawmakers were predicting that the full Senate also would vote to get rid of the game, they continued to doubt that the House of Delegates would agree.

By an 8-2 vote, the Senate Finance Committee approved a bill yesterday that would prevent the State Lottery Agency from installing any new keno terminals after June 1 and would require it to end the game outright by Dec. 31 of this year.

Committee Chairman Thomas P. O'Reilly said after the vote he does not believe that gambling money should be used to fund state services. And no state "should be in a situation of encouraging that behavior," the Prince George's County Democrat said.

The video lottery game, which began last month, is now in use in more than 800 bars and restaurants around the state. Gov. William Donald Schaefer's $12.7 billion budget proposal for next year depends on $100 million from the game.

"The governor's stated all along, 'If you're going to cut keno, you have to give me $100 million in cuts,' " Page W. Boinest, Mr. Schaefer's press secretary, said yesterday.

It was for that reason that two Baltimore senators parted with their colleagues, concerned that such reductions would harm the city.

"They were talking openly that this means a $100 million cut," said Sen. Larry Young, adding that he feared city aid and assistance for the poor could be affected. Sen. George W. Della Jr. joined him in opposing the bill. Both men are Democrats.

"There is $100 million that can be cut; you don't need keno," Mr. O'Reilly countered.

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