A plan to install a Keno monitor at the Hall’s Corner Store will move ahead as the Board of Selectmen said this week they had no objection to it.

This action is a reversal of a decision made by a previous board five years ago. The Massachusetts State Lottery Commission is making Keno monitors available to some establishments that currently offer Keno-to-Go, and in a May 4 letter, it notified selectmen of its intent to install a monitor at The Hall’s Corner Store on Chestnut Street.

The letter stated that town officials had 21 days in which to object in writing to the Keno monitor.

At their weekly Monday night meeting, selectmen said they had no objections to the Keno monitor at the Hall’s Corner Store. They did not take a vote on the issue.

Keno was introduced in Massachusetts in 1993 and Keno-to-Go became available in 2008.

In a regular Keno game, players select numbers, then watch a computer monitor in the establishment in which they are playing to see if they have chosen the winning numbers. In Keno-to-Go, players choose their numbers and then go home to check the Internet to see if they have won.

The minimum bet in Keno is $1 and players can select up to 20 numbers from the 80 numbers offered. They win cash if their numbers match.

In April 2008, the Board of Selectmen, consisting of Jon Witten, Elizabeth Sullivan and Andre Martecchini, voted unanimously not to object to Keno-to-Go in Duxbury provided there would be no monitors allowed.

“Board members agree that they have no objection to the program so long as no Keno monitors are involved,” stated the April 7, 2008 minutes.

At that time, there were six lottery agents in town that were eligible for the new Keno-to-Go.

Ted Flynn, the current Chair of the Board of Selectmen, said he does not object to a Keeno monitor at the Hall’s Corner Store because it is allowed by state law and because the police chief, the fire chief and the director of inspectional services did not have any problems with the monitor.

“The police said this applicant is a suitable person and that it had no issues of concern with the establishment,” said Flynn. “If the town department heads had a problem, then we would have a problem. I frankly rely on their call on that matter.”

When asked if he felt Keno would encourage gambling and increase loitering in Hall’s Corner, Flynn said he did not.

“I don’t believe so,” he said. “Keno-to-Go is gambling as it exists.  Do I think it will increase the potential for gambling? No, not really.”

Flynn added that he had never played Keno and probably “never will.” Flynn said he was aware that his board’s approval of Keno was a reversal of the previous board’s position. If having a Keno monitor at the Hall’s Corner Store causes issues, Flynn said the town will take care of it at that time.

“If it became a problem of any consequence, we would address it,” he said.

Police Chief Matthew Clancy said he did his research before offering his recommendation to allow a Keno monitor in Hall’s Corner. Clancy said he visited locations with Keno in neighboring towns and spoke to other area police stations about Keno. He also looked into how Osborn’s Country Store on Route 53 in Duxbury handles Keno at their location. Selectmen granted permission for Osborn’s to offer Keno with a monitor in April 2011.

Clancy’s concerns centered on parking issues, loitering and enforcing the age limit for gambling.  He said for the first two to three months that Osborn’s had Keno, he sent his detectives to “pop in” and monitor the operation. He said he has received no complaints about Keno at Osborn’s.

Clancy said the Hall’s Corner Store is  “clearly a suitable applicant” and that there was “little or nothing to report” regarding police responses to the location.

“They have a history of responsible management there,” he said. “We’ll let them take a shot at it and keep an eye on it from our end.”

Clancy added: “If a problem presents itself, we’ll make the board aware of it.”

According to Beth Bresnahan, director of marketing and communications for the Massachusetts State Lottery Commission, not all locations that currently offer Keno-to-Go will be chosen by the Lottery to have monitors. She said the Lottery looks at locations that are successful with Keno-to-Go and then performs site visits to see if a monitor will work at the establishment. They look at things like interior space and parking. A location must have enough room inside for a seating area because patrons may want to sit while waiting to see if their numbers are chosen, and it must have enough parking outside as the players linger longer than errand-running customers.

Bresnahan said the Lottery is placing Keno monitors into select Keno-to-Go locations because it wants to make more money.

“It’s an expansion of the program that will generate additional revenue,” she said. “Keno is our second best performing game.”

Keno sales total just over $771 million annually, said Bresnahan and that the Lottery will work with a community if it feels Keno is causing problems.

“We are a public agency and we are open to suggestions and comments,” she said. “Our offices are open to work with the community to remedy any issues.”

The public is allowed to voice their objections to Keno at the Hall’s Corner Store, or any other location, by getting in touch with the Lottery within the next few weeks. 

In other business, selectmen:

Declared May 19-25 as National Safe Boating Week in Duxbury and issued a proclamation that supports the goals of the National Safe Boating Campaign, which encourages boaters in all vessels to wear life jackets. On average 700 people die in boating-related accidents in the US annually and 70 percent of the fatalities are caused by drowning.

Met as Water and Sewer Commissions to re-vote the voluntary outdoor watering restrictions they approved last week. Watering is limited to 5-8 a.m. and 5-8 p.m. with odd numbered houses watering on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and even-numbered houses watering on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. No watering is allowed on Sundays.