The Keno Lounge
Keno is distinguished from other types of gambling games as all of the action takes place in it’s own lounge, in a "fictional" way. Originally, Keno was based on make-believe horse races that were created by Nevada casino owners in order to get around a law that said that Keno was illegal, as lotteries were illegal in the United States until the 1960s.
Like bingo, playing keno required its own room and seating. It also requires its own way of generating random numbers and a way of broadcasting these results to a large number of people.
Entering the Keno Lounge
When you enter a live casino and go into a keno lounge the first thing you will find is lots of seats or couches. Often the area is separated by a glass partition from the other areas of the casino. In some casinos there is a plastic bowl that drops marked numbered boards into a hopper and in others there are merely computerized random number generators.
In a live casino there is usually a big board with digital numbers that light up or a video screen that displays the winning numbers after they are dropped from a drum into a hopper. Some casinos have a number of video screens as opposed to one board that broadcast the results of each fictional keno “race” after each draw.
Most casinos also have video monitors that display the results of winning races throughout the entire establishment. This way a person playing blackjack or Texas Hold ‘Em at another table can also place keno bets.
To facilitate the play of individuals who would like to multi-task when they gamble, most casinos employ individuals called keno runners who deliver your marked tickets to the customer service desk (nicknamed the keno writer’s cage) in the keno lounge. They then return to you with your computerized ticket and will ask if you want to play again.
These keno runners, which are like gambling waiters, are also available to sell you ticket slips and take your tickets for you right inside the keno lounge as well. This lessens the long line-ups at the keno counter and helps the casino run more keno games an hour.
Marking Your Keno Ticket
Once you are in the casino lounge you find yourself supplied with markers, known in the business as a keno crayon. These writing instruments make indelible marks on your keno ticket slips.
In some traditional and elegant casinos in Las Vegas the practice of using India ink and brushes to mark in the spots on your tickets is still offered. This old practice of using India ink pays homage to the lottery’s origins in China when ink was used as a way of verifying a number selected so that there could never be any dispute or confusion regarding winning numbers.
Some casinos also supply a different colored marker so that you can note your markers one by one as they come up on the keno board. Just in case the lounge doesn’t carry these items it is a good idea for you to bring one as it can help expedite the process of tracking your winning numbers. This is important because in some casinos you cannot collect your prize if the next draw is open before you get to the keno ticket counter to announce you have won.
This is also a situation where a keno runner comes in handy as a keno runner can also cut through the line ups at the keno counter and get your keno ticket verified faster than you can. If you do win, the winnings must be cashed out immediately after the game. This must be done quickly as in most casinos; keno drawings take place every five minutes. You should know, if you don’t take your winning ticket to the teller before the next game starts drawing then it might be declared void.
Tips For Playing Keno
Usually the swankier the casino, the more efficiently the keno lounge is run. If you find yourself gambling in a dive it might even be best to handle every aspect of managing your tickets yourself.
One way of getting around hanging around the keno lounge all day might be to buy one multi-draw ticket. Some are as good for as many as a thousand draws. In this case you simply play the same numbers but your ticket is never closed at the end of the game and you have more time to collect your winnings.
Online casino versions of keno are much simpler. The web page itself is your keno lounge. You simply point and click to select the numbers that you want to win. Usually flags, windows and sounds alert you as to when games are open to betting and when they are closed. Also if you play online you will probably be betting using repurchased tokens that are cashed in at the end of a playing session. Usually the numbers are selected by a piece of software called a Random Number Generator.
There's a great FAW over at Conjelco.com about keno and keno lounges. Much of the information is already covered here, but it's sometimes great to get another perspective.
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