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The ability to play multiple games has been seen as another of the best changes to enhance the keno experience.


jackpots for keno players. Weldon Russell, corporate director of ancillary games for all Station properties, was directly involved with the launch of this concept. According to Russell, Station has long focused on using technology to


enhance customer experiences with products such as its “Jumbo Jackpot,” which was introduced in April 2003. “We offered ‘Jumbo Pennies’ and ‘Jumbo Bingo’ and we then extended our ‘Jumbo’ brand of linked, progressive concepts to keno.” Keno has long been a part of the games available at Station Casinos, starting


back to when the company’s initial Palace Casino opened in 1977. As subsequent Station casinos opened, keno was offered wherever feasible, and it is now available for players at eight of the company’s larger Las Vegas operations. For help in developing the final versions of the progressive keno jackpots,


Russell turned to longtime keno expert Eric Thomassian, president and founder of XpertX, Inc., which since its beginnings in 1987 has grown to become the industry leader in supplying live-action keno to the gaming industry. Working together, Russell and Thomassian saw the launch of the Station


Casino Jumbo Keno Progressives. Currently it links four progressive keno jack- pots—Six, Seven, Eight and Nine Spot Keno—and is available for a $1 wager. Russell estimates that about 25 percent of his keno tickets are written on the pro- gressives.


Thomassian continued to work on the overall concept, and in 2008 launched


statewide progressive games for any keno operation in Nevada. The company’s proprietaryMegaKeno andMega10 progressive keno games offer keno players the added opportunity to play special 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 or 10-spot tickets to win larger jackpots. TheMega10 meter currently pays more than $1 million for hitting 10 out of


10 on a special $1.50 bet. They are currently available in more than two dozen casinos across Nevada. XpertX provides live updates on its progressives online at www.MegaKeno.com. On a recent check, the top jackpots were the 10-spot jack- pot at $1,063,979, the 9-spot at more than $75,000 and the 8-spot at more than $70,000. The ability to play multiple games has been seen as another of the best


changes to enhance the keno experience. Previous keno regulations required a player to redeem his ticket before the next game was launched or lose the win- nings. “Players now take their multi-race ticket to their favorite slot machine, table game or hotel room and continue to play keno at the same time,” says Riverside’s Brown. At Foxwoods, players regularly wager on what they call “multi-betting.”


According toMerriman, a key casino benefit of these wagers is that winners schedule a return visit to collect on their tickets. “They cash in their tickets and then usually replay and watch the games for a few more hours,” he says. “These players can even take that large multi-race ticket home and view the


game results online at the Keno Information Network available 24 hours a day,” adds Brown. Keno draws are accessible through an internet link on the Riverside website. Similarly at Foxwoods, players can watch the keno draws both from their hotel rooms and online.


32 In addition to the development of progressive jackpots, these live displays


both online and in hotel rooms have been the brainchild of XpertX and Thomassian. “We were first to bring keno results to televisions in casino hotel rooms and


first to use the internet to display live keno results online at KenoUSA.com,” he says. “Almost every one of our installations that has a hotel displays keno in the rooms today.” The company also currently displays online results for about 40 casinos at


the www.KenoUSA.com site. Each subscribing casino can link from its website to its own specific KIN


page. Every casino and game has its own web address and unique screen design with casino and game name. The display resembles a traditional keno board, complete with a scrolling center message display. Text ads and promotions also can be uploaded by casinos directly from their own keno systems for immediate display online. “Watching results for players, especially those who have played multi-race


games, has become a lot more popular than even we expected,” says Thomassian. “One of our keno users, a Northern Nevada casino which implemented both the MegaKeno progressives and KINnetwork last year, shared its results with us. Their total write for a five-month period last year went up by more than 10 per- cent with no other changes in advertising or promotions. “All our new changes and technologies use the inherent advantages of the keno game to boost revenue. This is not your father’s keno.”


Global Gaming Business • February 2011


KENO HISTORY AND LEGENDS


Most historical references for the game of keno provide a chronicle dating back almost 2,500 years to China. These accounts cite keno and a national lottery as being instituted to raise money to finance the military, and most notably, as the funding method for construc- tion of the GreatWall of China. In some accounts, the two sections of the traditional keno ticket


are described as a symbol of the Oriental concept “yin and yang.” According to this description, the upper section was considered yin or feminine with the lower yang or masculine. The game was supposedly brought to theWest by migrating


Chinese workers, who brought their rich history, food and pastimes, including a version of the game now played daily by thousands in casinos. In the book Complete Guide toWinning Keno, author David


Cowles credits a 23-year-old resident of Butte, Montana,Warren Nelson, with bringing the first keno game to Nevada in June 1936 at Reno’s Palace Club. Another Montanan, Joe Lyden, is credited with establishing keno in Las Vegas, at the Fremont. Eventually, keno followed the path of gaming from Nevada to Atlantic City and beyond.


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