My list to improve keno in Vegas casinos

April 12, 2016 3:00 AM


There are many improvements casinos could offer to keno that would make the game more enjoyable and increase both player satisfaction and casino revenue.

First of all, keno should be made nonsmoking as 80% of the population, even in Nevada, does not smoke. Why make it uncomfortable for the 80% to satisfy the 20%? The poker rooms went nonsmoking and they are doing as well as ever, why not keno?

The pays on many tickets are odd amounts. Why pay $4.50 when you can pay $5? Less clerk time makes for a faster game and more casino revenue. It also makes for fewer errors.

Drink tickets are a mystery. If a person playing penny keno on a machine can get most drinks, why should a live keno player deserve any less? The few freeloaders that will cost the casino money are more than offset by the dissatisfaction of the regular players. I like playing a 21-game 7-spot at 40 cents a game, total ticket is $8.40. If I cannot get a simple bottled water or juice when I get thirsty I shall take my action elsewhere. So will many other players.

Ridiculous minimums and game rules are not good either. If you say one needs 10 ways to qualify for a quarter a way but you have a pop 80 rate of 80 cents, allow 20-cent ways if you play 10 ways as 20 divides into 80 while 25 does not.

Be liberal about late pays. Allow cash-ins until the end of a person’s stay such as a week on 20 games or less.

Don’t be nitpicking on comps. Keno has a high house edge therefore comps should reflect that fact. A player should expect 30%-40% of his expected losses back in comps.

If you have a tournament, adjust the prize pool if the buy-ins go over the average amount. Increase the prize money proportionately as the buy-ins increase or pay more places.

Have weekly mini tournaments and pay 5 to 10 places depending on the number of entries.

Spend the money to have keno classes. This increases game interest. I would be willing to help in this area.

Pay back at least 75 cents on the dollar. One casino has a ticket that returns 3% on the dollar. You get a better bottom line with volume, not by gouging the players.

Many casinos have very good games with very good playing conditions but more could improve their game and player satisfaction as well, which also would help their bottom line.

Bring back keno runners. Train them well, especially in way tickets. This definitely encourages interest in the game.

Always have a progressive ticket option. It can really generate interest if it increases fast by putting a nice chunk of the action back into the progressive.

The Atlantis in Reno, casinos that offer MegaKeno, and he Station Casinos all have good progressives, what happened to the other casino keno games?

Have good promotions that are mathematically well thought out (I am willing to help any casino in this regard) that will increase keno action by giving the players good value and at the same time increasing the drop for the casino.

Put up more keno boards throughout the casino. This costs very little. It definitely encourages game interest.

Take the extra time to train the writers so they know more than just how to enter data in the computer.

There are lots of good keno games and lots of keno games that could stand improvement. Which kind of game will your casino offer? If you have any doubt of what a good game is visit the Atlantis in Reno, The California and The D in downtown Vegas and the Orleans near the Strip. These casinos have a good number of the items that make for an excellent game, as do some of the Station Casinos. I am definitely willing to talk to any keno manager to help improve their game.

Players, let the casinos know what you like about their games and what you don’t like. We all want keno to be the best game in the casino.

Both players and casino management can work together to make keno the best game of all!

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. Email: