Keno at Richdale to Move Ahead

Wenham Selectmen will not oppose a plan to install a Keno monitor at the Richdale convenience store.

The Wenham Board of Selectmen will not oppose at the .

The board on Tuesday voted 3-0 to let a June 30 response deadline pass by, and the board will submit an objection to the state Lottery Commission about a plan to add the monitor at the West Wenham store.

That clears the way for the monitor to be installed. Lottery spokesman Beth Bresnahan said on Wednesday that the installation process is “pretty quick” and “swift.”

Bresnahan said Lottery contractor Valley Communications will come to install the monitor and lottery technicians will wire the TV. It will take 2-3 weeks to complete, she said.

Nobody from the public spoke on Tuesday night when the board sought to hear public feedback about the plan.

But the board said it had received four e-mails with opinions from Wenham residents, some whom live near the store and some who do not live close to Richdale, at 143 Topsfield Road, at the intersection with Maple Street.

Selectmen didn’t say who wrote the e-mails and did not read exactly what any of the e-mails said. But Chairman Molly Martins did say that three of the messages opposed the Keno monitor and one was in support.

Richdale owner Albert Abdelmalak said he has also proposed installing a table and six chairs near the front of the store as an additional service for customers who want to sit and watch the game’s bouncing balls after they have bought a game ticket.

“Some people like to watch the numbers from Keno,” he said.

Previously, the board had expressed concern about the installation of the monitor.

One selectman, Patrick Wilson, said the monitor plus chairs and a table could make the store “one step shy of a casino-type operation.”

Those comments came on the eve of a deadline for the board to let the state Lottery Commission know how it feels about the proposal. Because of its concerns, and a desire to hear more from neighbors and the public, they asked for an extension to respond. The Lottery Commission granted the extension until June 30.

On Tuesday, though, Wilson said he has seen no objective data to show that the installation of a Keno monitor will cause any problems.

“I see no reason to object to it.” Wilson said. “Based on all the evidence I have seen I can not see any reason to object.”

Wilson said the close examination of the proposal was not meant to undermine Abdelmalak’s business but it is the Selectmen’s duty to make sure a new Keno monitor would not create a problem in the neighborhood.

Police Chief Ken Walsh said he checked with police in other communities where there are Keno monitors in convenience stores and did not find there have been any major problems.

And Selectman Ken Whittaker said he visited a grocery store, convenience store and gas station where Keno is played, and saw no problems. In fact, in some cases he said it was hard to find the area where the game was being played and found some clerks didn’t even know how to play.

“(Keno) wasn’t a dominant part of any place that I visited,” Whittaker said.

George Walden June 21, 2012 at 03:40 PM
Good for you, Laura! The problem is there are too few mothers like you today. Stick to your guns.
Robert Gates June 21, 2012 at 07:23 PM
According to the Lottery's website, you can not play Keno or buy a lottery ticket anywhere in Boxford: http://www.masslottery.com/where-to-play/agents-all/index.htm Choose a town in the left column and to the far right of each store name it says if it offers Keno (with a monitor) or Keno-to-Go (with no in-store monitor).
Bill June 23, 2012 at 07:51 PM
Dear Concerned: I love the way lottery and beer goes right to unregulated porn and the downfall of society. Yes, let the adults talk, if adults is code for snobs. Get over yourself. Do you really think you are shielding yourself or your kids by banning this guy from selling some legal items?
Concerned June 25, 2012 at 02:15 AM
Smut mags are next. Mark my words. Trust me, I'm far from a snob and I have nothing to get over. And yes, I do think the families in that area would be shielding themselves from and element widely regarded as a slippery slop. If these things are not here then the younger kids have no exposure to them. Of course when they get older they will but at that point that's life. I love how you keep saying he can sell "legal items" like he wants to bring in more soda or candy. Have you heard of the Broken Windows Theory? If not, look it up. Similar situation applies here. Take care of the little things and the big things will take care of themseves.
Rich June 26, 2012 at 09:07 PM
I'm a Keno and lottery player. I think i'm being harassed by one fine "concerned" citizen of Wenham?, no I don't buy smut mags or even liquor..but my mega jackpot would be to sue the towns citizens for harassment....dear concerned pls stay indoors and draw the curtains. and watch the musical "The Music Man"..


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