Lawmakers not happy with Lottery pushing the limits of law
Some Wyoming lawmakers say they're bothered the Wyoming Lottery Corp. considered introducing keno without their approval and they expect to introduce legislation limiting the lottery.
In keno, players try to match numbers with random numbers displayed on video screens at a restaurant or a bar. The idea has been withdrawn after meetings with the lottery board and state lawmakers, said lottery CEO Jon Clontz.
The lottery has other matters to focus on and no urgent need for keno exists, he said.
"I am not willing to introduce any game that may not be aligned with the law, my board of directors and the Legislature," Clontz said.
Lawmakers said there's no chance Wyoming will have keno without a change to state law.
One condition of the 2013 law that allowed the lottery was no instant-gratification games, such as scratch-off tickets, would be allowed, said Sen. Michael Von Flatern, R-Gillette.
"If they want to make slot machines and that sort of thing legal, fine, change the statutes. But as they stand, it isn't legal," Von Flatern said.
Sen. Jim Anderson, of Natrona County, said lawmakers likely will consider limitations to the lottery during this winter's legislative session.
Anderson said he supports the two national lottery games initially approved — Powerball and Mega Millions — but expansion beyond that troubles him.
Some lawmakers were taken by surprise when Wyoming's own game, Cowboy Draw, was introduced March 15, he said.
Anderson said he saw the same thing happening with keno. Nobody knew about it and WyoLotto was making plans to make the game live, he said.
"From a Legislature standpoint, we're not big on more gambling in the state. If it came down to a vote, some of that gambling would lose," Anderson said. "There's a definite conservative stance in the Legislature. We said we knew it could get out of control, we just didn't know how soon that could be."