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Keno Starting Up In Pa., But State Lottery Says Monitors Are Not In Place Everywhere

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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- It's the newest addition to the Pennsylvania Lottery – Keno.

But you may be surprised where you can play the game.

"We're pretty excited at Johnny's to see Keno coming in," says Elizabeth Beadling, a bartender at Johnny's, a local tavern in Jeannette. "I'm looking forward to playing a little bit. I think all the customers are, too."

KDKA's Jon Delano Reports:

Beginning on May 1, customers can play the game at bars like Johnny's.

It's part of the Lottery's attempt to gain new players at new venues, says executive director Drew Svitko.

"The successful model really is social environments where adults tend to hang out -- bars, restaurants, taverns, social clubs, those kinds of places," Svitko told KDKA money editor Jon Delano on Monday.

"It's a great opportunity for us to reach new players in new venues all around the Commonwealth," said Svitko. "This is a neat opportunity for us to modernize this Lottery and generate more funds for older Pennsylvanians."

Svitko says Keno will appeal to a new kind of player.

"This is an attempt to reach a different customer, people who may not be as interested in our traditional product. This is a new and different product, really engaging and entertaining in a different venue."

Besides playing at the 9,400 Lottery locations across the commonwealth, watch for Keno and a monitoring screen to pop up at your neighborhood tavern.

"Yeah, I'm going to play it for sure," said Jim Fichtner, of Jeannette. "You can play when you're relaxed, sitting there having a drink or having something to eat. You're not under pressure. Just fill out the paperwork, and away you go."

It's easy to play.

For a buck, just pick out 10 numbers or spots out of 80 on a special slip of paper.

Every four minutes, 20 numbers are drawn and posted on a special monitoring screen.

The more you match, the more you win.

Ten out of 10 earns you $100,000.

But Svitko acknowledges the Lottery will have only 300 monitors in place statewide for the kick-off day, and none in Allegheny County.

Delano: "Why is that?"

Svitko: "It's really just a function of how quickly we've been able to install these. We recruited all these retailers in a hurry, and now we only have so many resources to go out and install these monitors."

Svitko promises most of the 1,000 monitors will be in place shortly, and he hopes to see 3,000 new venues by next year.

Of course, Keno can be played at the 9,400 traditional Lottery locations, too.

"We know it's going to be fun," added Beadling. "We know it's going to be exciting. We know there's games going off every four minutes."

And it should make money for the Lottery.

"We expect Keno to generate $20 million of incremental profit next year for older Pennsylvanians," says Svitko.

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