400 Ky. retailers adding Keno, 80 in Louisville


by Joe Arnold


Posted on November 3, 2013 at 6:06 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- Known for live music and a lively bar scene, Phoenix Hill Tavern has made room on its kitsch-crammed walls for eight "Keno" screens as the Kentucky Lottery launches the casino-style game on Monday.

"We're very excited and can't wait for it to start," Karen Callahan, Phoenix Hill's manager, said.

The Baxter Avenue business is one of some 400 to begin offering Keno next week, 80 in Louisville.

"We had a two hour training seminar and then there's been a series of Keno people coming in for installation and - so it's a learning process for us," Callahan said.

Keno players choose between one and ten numbers on what looks like a lotto slip.

Players can bet between $1 and $20 for each drawing.  New numbers are drawn every five minutes.

Unlike grab and go lotto tickets, Keno is often a game played for hours.

MORE: Where you can play keno in Louisville

Of the 400 lottery retailer to offer keno games, about 200 are new to the Kentucky Lottery mainly restaurants, bars and fraternal organizations.

"Those are places where people come in and spend some time and they play Keno as an ancillary activity while they are in those facilities," Arch Gleason, Kentucky Lottery President & CEO, said.

"Typically, in other jurisdictions, the owner of a business has seen a rise in their baseline business, food and beverage," Gleason said.  "Anywhere from ten maybe even 15 percent, but often double digits."

"Don't have a clue because it's so new," Callahan said.  "Don't have any idea.  Hopefully a lot of course.  I always like to think big."

By the end of this fiscal year which ends June 30, the lottery expects to have sold $28 million in Keno tickets with a profit of $7 million.

"In the first fiscal year, we think those numbers can grow to over a million a week in sales and profits would approach $15 million in the first fiscal year," Gleason continued.

Gambling critics say Keno is not what voters had in mind when they approved of a lottery 25 years ago this month.

Two prior moves to add Keno to the lottery's games failed... but in the last year Frankfort has warmed to the idea.

"Things have changed and now is a good time and the state certainly needs additional revenue," Gleason said.

Until the Keno launch, the most drawings per day of a Kentucky Lottery game are two per day for the Pick 3 and Pick 4 games.

The keno game will have up to 251 drawings per day - beginning at 5 a.m. until 2 a.m. the following day - seven days per week.