Help keep keno alive at the casinos

August 11, 2015 3:00 AM


many casinos don't even require playing $1 per game!We need to do everything possible to keep our favorite game alive as more and more casinos are eliminating and downgrading keno. How do we do this?

Quite simply play keno, especially at off hours. Each shift records the “drop” or the “write” and even small tickets add up. Play especially where there are runners so the casino will tend to keep having runner service. Of course, play at the level you can afford.

Many casinos, especially in downtown Las Vegas, do not even require the playing of $1 per game as long as you play enough games. You can play 10 tickets at 40 cents a game at the El Cortez and 50 cents at The D. Most places downtown allow multi-game tickets for a $2 total (50 cents for 4).

Get a tracking number if the casino does not use your slot card to check your play for comps. If they use the slot card always use it to show your action to get more and better comps.

If the casino or hotel has a comment card fill it out, and don’t forget to mention the helpfulness of the keno staff, especially the runners. This helps them keep their jobs and insures the game will go on. It does not make a difference if you win or lose. The total action and number of games played is what counts.

If you’re in the area and there is a tournament, join it. Most tournaments are advantageous to the players when all the freebies (rooms, food, gifts) and prize money are figured in to the expected outcome.

If the casino sells keno books in the gift shop and they are not overpriced (i.e, no more than in a local bookstore) consider buying a book to help with your playing or as a gift for your friends.

If the casino has coupons for keno, use them. This shows the promotions work. Often the coupon will give you a mathematical advantage on that particular game(s). If you’re a table games player keep a keno ticket under your chips.

If another player at the table asks about it, feel free to explain keno as long as you do not slow down the game or lose concentration needed to make the correct play. Playing a 10-game keno ticket at 50 cents a game costs you little. You get 60 to 90 minutes of play for an expected loss of about $1 to $1.50.

Let the keno staff know what you like and don’t like about their game (in a friendly way). Do not forget to tip if you have a good size or better win and good service. Happy employees make for a better experience for all.

If you have a very large win and give a substantial tip, you can give the tip in the presence of the keno supervisor (this makes you look really good!).

If the casino offers a progressive (i.e, Megakeno, Jumbo Keno, More to the Meter, $2 8-9 spot, etc.), play it if it is at a reasonable level in your opinion. The success of a keno game is shown by the action generated by the players. The house knows the overall win is directly related to the house edge times the amount of money in play.

Even at a very small level, if the house sees a lot of action they will know players like keno and will keep it. That way the players will not play at another hotel that has keno if their hotel does not. Many casinos have race and sportsbooks that make little profit compared to other games, but they exist because the players want them. They would take their other action (blackjack, craps, slots, etc) elsewhere if unable to place a bet on their favorite team. The same is true with keno.

If the keno operation has something you really like such as a large non-smoking area, very comfortable chairs, frequent drink service, low house percentage tickets, good tournaments, etc., let the casino bosses know how happy you are with their setup.

If the player next to you asks for help with a ticket, help them if you know the answer or suggest they ask the keno writers.

Let’s keep our game alive and well! Go for it!

Pesach Kremen is a former UNLV Masters Gaming student, has won and placed in multiple local keno tournaments, and has written several academic papers on Keno. You can reach him at