Vince Mazzeo Wants to End “Quick Draw” Keno Drawings

Quick Draw Lottery New Jersey

Aine Filler of Lumberton fills out a Quick Draw ticket.

Assemblyman Vince Mazzao says a keno-style game offered by the New Jersey Lottery is illegal. Tickets for the keno-style drawing, which happens every 5 minutes, are sold primarily in bars, restaurants, and bowling alleys.

The game Vince Mazzeo dislikes is “Quick Draw”, a rapid-fire game which is offered throughout the state. Mazzeo believes the game undermines Atlantic City casinos, which should be the only venues in the state which can offer keno drawings.

When gambling on Quick Draw, players have the ability to choose up to 10 numbers they wish to play from an array of 80 numbers, like in Keno. Payouts are determined by the number of “spots” that hit out of the 20 numbers drawn. Players can bet up to $10 each round.

226 “Quick Draw” Drawings Per Day

Mazzeo says he takes exception with the rapid-fire ability to gamble on Quick Draw. He said that 226 drawings happen each day, so casual gamblers can wager over two-thousand dollars a day.

Those familiar with casino gambling know that Keno offers the worst house edge in the casino. While Nevada casinos sometimes offer keno drawings with a house edge of 3%, most games outside Nevada have a house edge in the 20% to 40% range. Outside of weekly lottery drawings, those are the worst odds in gambling.

Don’t Drink and Gamble

In fact, the overall payout percentage of Quick Draw is at the low end of the scale: 60%. Combined with the fact the Quick Draw tickets are sold at venues which offer alcohol, the assemblyman argues that the state lottery is setting up gamblers to lose a lot of cash.

The assemblymen announced he was introducing a bill to the General Assembly to ban keno games. While regular lottery players buy Powerball and Mega Milions lotto tickets perhaps 3 times a week, the Quick Draw game offers the same number of drawings in 15 minutes time. The bill would decrease the number of Quick Draw drawings to 2 per day, instead of 226.

Vince Mazzeo on Quick Draw Keno

Mazzeo makes no bones about the target of his new law. In a statement released to the New Jersey press, Vincent Mazzeo said, “The State Lottery is grossly overstepping their authority by essentially expanding casino style gambling…outside of Atlantic City. Having keno drawings every five minutes is a clear end around the spirit of the 1970 State Lottery constitutional amendment.”

Those who defend games like Quick Draw point out that keno pays out more often than Mega Millions or Powerball drawings. Because players win smaller payouts for a certain number of catches each drawing, they are not likely to lose all the money wagered each time they play.

Keno Is an Atlantic City Casino Game

Vince Mazzeo argues that the state has a right to reduce the number of drawings by the state lottery, because of a mandate to protect Atlantic City’s casino industry. He argues that offering casino-style keno games through the lottery is an expansion of casino gambling outside of Atlantic City. It is a longstanding policy of the state government to limit all casino gambling in New Jersey to the Atlantic City area.

That longstanding policy was challenged last year in a statewide referendum on the November 8 ballot. The people of New Jersey were asked whether they wanted to authorize two North Jersey casinos. The casinos would have been built in cities like East Rutherford, Newark, or Jersey City. The stipulation was they had to be at least 72 miles from Atlantic City.

2016 North Jersey Casino Referendum

That ballot initiative suffered a crushing defeat at the polling stations, as less than 23% of New Jersey’s voters approved of the measure. Vince Mazzeo said the people of New Jersey spoke loud and clear last November, so the state lottery is beyond its legal authority.

Assemblyman Mazzeo said in his statement, “The State Lottery doesn’t get to override the voice of the people. I will continue to staunchly oppose, as I always have, any effort that expands gambling outside Atlantic City.”