Keno among changes promised by British company poised to run Pa. Lottery
January 21, 2013By Mary Wilson
The British firm soon to take over the Pennsylvania Lottery wants to expand games to include keno. The deal depends on approval of the contract by state Attorney General Kathleen Kane.
Should all the i's be dotted and t's crossed, Camelot Global Services is planning a kind of keno that's played at a video monitor.
A player picks a set of numbers and waits for a drawing. Very basically, the more the player's numbers match the figures pulled in the drawing, the higher the jackpot.
The drawings fly by quickly -- sometimes as many as three a minute, says Sal Scheri, president of WhiteSand Gaming.
"You'll have some people that will just try a few games and get up and leave. And you'll have some people that could sit there for, you know, an hour or more," said Scheri who recently headed the Valley Forge Casino.
Some lawmakers, most of them Democrats, say keno resembles slots more than typical lottery games, where someone buys a scratch-off ticket or waits for a Powerball drawing. They say including keno is an expansion of gaming that requires legislative approval, though the Corbett administration disagrees.
Camelot would bring the game to 3,000 retailers, including bars and restaurants, over the first five years of the pending contract with the state.
The firm's executives say keno is critical to meeting its promised profit levels of $34 billion over the 20-year deal, an annual increase of 3 to 4 percent over current profits.
The union representing some Pennsylvania Lottery employees, who say they could bring about even better returns with an infusion of new games, has sued the commonwealth over the deal.