Time is money for casino keno parlors

February 19, 2002 4:11 AM
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Have you ever played Keno while dining, and found that the Keno runner consistently arrived with your tickets after the game was played, and then perhaps returned immediately to pick up for the next game? A little frustrating? Or on the other hand, finished your meal and decided to play one more time. You pay your tab, go to the Keno counter and then cool your heels for another ten minutes awaiting the outcome of your game? Irritating? Both of these situations illustrate one of the problems confronted by management in running a good Keno game. Below is a glimpse into the inner workings of a Keno game that the player rarely sees.

Keno games naturally want to run as many games possible in an eight hour shift. Simple arithmetic establishes that the total write of a shift is the (write per game) x (number of games per shift). So, for instance, a Keno game that averages $100 per game in write and averages 64 games per shift will average $6,400 per shift in total write. Unfortunately, the volume of business is rarely constant over an eight hour period. Imagine a night shift where the average write per game is $150 for the first four hours and $50 per game for the last four hours. If the Keno game maintains the pace of eight games per hour, the write will still be $6,400 for the shift, with an average write of $100 per game. The problem is that many Keno games slow down when the business volume is high, and then speed up when it is low. If the same Keno game slows down to six games per hour in the first four hours, and speeds up to 10 games per hour in the last four hours, the game will still run 64 games in a shift, but will write only $5,600 for the shift, on the same total number of games, and the average write per game declines to $87.50 per game, on the same potential amount of business! The game has lost 12.5 percent of its potential ­­income due to inefficiency.

Even well run Keno games can have a bad day, but if this happens consistently at a Keno game then the game is either understaffed or the staffing is poorly distributed, or on occasion the game is poorly located physically in the casino. The goal of a well run Keno game is to run a consistent pace of games per hour, regardless of the volume of business. This will allow you, the player, to avoid the situations outlined in the first paragraph, and provide you with a more enjoyable playing experience.

If you have a Keno question that you would like answered, please write to me care of this paper, or contact me on the web via email at kenolil@math.net. Well, that’s it for now. Good luck! I’ll see you in line!