On Monday Rep. Aaron Pilkington (R – Russellville) filed H.B. 1869 legalizing iLottery and Keno in Arkansas under the auspices of the state-run lottery.
H.B. 1869 would let Arkansans use a smart phone, tablet, computer, or other electronic device to gamble on the Arkansas Lottery via the Internet. It also would permit Keno in Arkansas — which is a controversial casino-style game.
Keno is different from other lottery games. Drawings for Keno usually take place every few minutes rather than once a day, and the odds of winning a jackpot prize tend to be worse than other lottery games.
Its fast pace makes Keno a popular casino game, because players can pick numbers and place bets over and over again in a short amount of time.
As a result, Keno often is played in a live room full of gamblers.
One of the reasons lawmakers rejected Keno a few years ago is that they did not want the State Lottery creating miniature casinos in bars, convenience stores, and gas stations across Arkansas.
The way H.B. 1869 is written, Arkansas could end up with miniature casinos that offer Keno, and Arkansans may even be able to play Keno non-stop on their cell phones.
If the Arkansas Lottery authorizes Keno — and especially if lottery officials make it possible for people to gamble online — that’s going to increase problem gambling and gambling addiction in Arkansas. That makes H.B. 1869 a bad bill.