New Jersey Lottery Game Encroaches on Casino Territory, Says, Lawmakers

The New Jersey State Lottery rolled out a new game last year, a keno-like Quick Draw game that costs $1 to $10 per play. Now state lawmakers and gaming regulators are saying the game encroaches on casino gaming territory and should not be allowed.

According to opponents, the new lottery game is too similar to the style of games offered by slot machines, and will, therefore, cut down on the frequency state residents visit Atlantic City casinos.

The game allows players to select between one and ten numbers out of 80. The Lottery draws 20 winning numbers every five minutes or 226 times per day. Assemblyman Ralph Caputo, who chairs the Assembly Committee on Tourism, Gaming, and Arts, says this frequency satisfies the emotional stimulation of casino gambling.

Caputo emphasized the need for review any time the Lottery introduces a new game because it could take market share away from casinos. Caputo is introducing a bill that would limit the number of times the Lottery can conduct a drawing in a single day – he seeks to set the limit at two drawings per 24 hours.

Though the bill calls for a dramatic reduction in the number of daily drawings, its sponsors say the lottery game may be unconstitutional. New Jersey law gives the state Lottery Commission the exclusive power to regulate the frequency of game drawings.

The game is primarily offered in bars, restaurants, bowling alleys, and social atmospheres. Caputo argues that its location combined with its frequency makes it fundamentally different from the games that were initially included in the constitutional amendment to allow the lottery.

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