Come August 4, 2008, the U.S. State of Ohio is set to go keno crazy. Well,
maybe not crazy, but certainly open to playing the casino-like, or should
I say lottery-like game of Keno.
The reason being is that legislation has been passed to regulate the use of keno
machines in racetracks, taverns, dining facilities, clubs/organizations, bowling
alleys and more.
Although falling well short of the 2006 casino gambling constitutional
amendment to bring 5,000 slots machines to Ohio racetracks and developing
full-scale Las Vegas casinos in downtown Cincinnati and Cleveland, keno machines
will undoubtedly generate some badly needed revenue for Ohio's education system,
namely, helping high school graduates pay in-State college tuition.
Even Governor Ted Strickland, who opposed skill-betting machines and Las
Vegas casino games, has been in support of the keno machines, which is kind of
ironic considering how "skill-less" keno can be. Still, the new law has its
detractors, such as the Ohio Roundtable - an anti-gambling group who played a
large role in helping get sill-based machines kicked out of Ohio.
But not only did skill-based games get kicked out of Ohio - so did some
serious revenue. Now realizing just how badly this revenue is needed, Governor
Strickland was apparently persuaded to compromise. Or perhaps the Governor was
persuaded by the powerful arm of the Ohio Lottery Commission, who is now
expecting to generate some $73 million by the end of this fiscal year with the
help of keno machines.
700 establishments - all with Class D liquor licenses, have already been
approved by the Lottery Commission to house the keno machines, which will be
tied into a single wide-area progressive jackpot. Slightly different than
traditional Las Vegas casino keno, Ohio's keno machines will allow players to
pick from 1 to 10 numbers (our of eighty) and place bets ranging from $1 to $20.
Depending on the size of the bet and matched numbers, payouts will vary - with
ten out of ten matching numbers on a $20 bet paying out $2 million. Games will
be played every four minutes and numbers will be chosen from a statewide