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Valley News Dispatch

Keno ready to launch in Freeport, elsewhere

Madasyn Czebiniak
| Tuesday, May 15, 2018, 4:15 p.m.
The Clubhouse on the Hill manager Jennifer Graff, 43, of Harrison, poses in front of the bar below a Keno monitor that will allow players to follow along with the number drawings, which are every four minutes, on May 15, 2018.
Madasyn Czebiniak | Tribune Review
The Clubhouse on the Hill manager Jennifer Graff, 43, of Harrison, poses in front of the bar below a Keno monitor that will allow players to follow along with the number drawings, which are every four minutes, on May 15, 2018.

You may be able play the popular, fast-paced lottery game Keno at any of the 9,400 lottery retailers across the state, but how many have monitors that allow you to watch the drawing results in a cool, entertaining way?

The Clubhouse on the Hill bar in Freeport soon will be a destination for Alle-Kiski Valley residents who want to enjoy Keno drawings via the big screen every four minutes.

About 600 lottery retailers in Pennsylvania have such monitors.

"In our facility, between our big screen TVs, the state installed three monitors," owner Mike Graff said. "Every four minutes or five minutes, you can bet on Keno."

The PA Lottery started offering Keno at the beginning of the month. Play starts at $1, and there are drawings every four minutes.

Players choose up to 10 numbers, or spots, from 1 to 80. A computer randomly draws 20 winning numbers. The more spots players match, the more they can win.

The response from the public as well as retailers in regards to Keno has been positive, lottery spokesman Gary Miller said.

"We've received a lot of good feedback from players — 'Thank yous,'" Miller said. "The one thing we hear consistently is, 'We've been waiting for this game.' Retailers also are enthused to see their sales grow."

The PA Lottery previously wasn't allowed to offer Keno because of a clause in state law, but the Legislature nixed that as part of the Act 42 gambling legislation that was enacted last fall, Miller said.

"The provision in the law that banned Keno is no longer in existence, so we took advantage of that and introduced this new game," he said.

Other states that offer Keno include Ohio, West Virginia, North Carolina, Maryland and Massachusetts.

Keno launched in Ohio in August 2008. Danielle Frizzi-Babb, spokeswoman with The Ohio Lottery Commission, said the state has more than 9,800 lottery retailers and all offer Keno, which generated more than $396,000,000 in sales in Ohio from July 2016 to June 2017.

Miller said Keno is popular in large part because it's a social game.

"I call it a 'stay and play' kind of game," Miller said. "It's a kind of game you might want to play while you're hanging at a restaurant with friends. You can play one drawing, you can play multiple drawings at a time. Play starts at just $1, and you can win up to $100,000 on a $1 wager."

The Clubhouse is owned by Mike and Virginia Graff, who also own Graff Trucking in Fawn.

The restaurant and bar is open daily, but the rainy weather has postponed plans for an adjacent nine-hole, PGA regulation-length golf course.

"We were hoping to get it up and running by mid-July, but that is definitely out," Graff said. "We are just on hold with that right now, which is another great reason for Keno. It's just another revenue generating tool that we can use."

Keno isn't the only game the Clubhouse will offer, though. Guests also will be able to bet on virtual football and auto racing and buy lottery tickets, Graff said.

Keno should be ready to go in a couple of days. The virtual football and auto racing are expected to be ready to play by summer.

"You can sit there like a casino," Graff said. "Instead of you going to the casino, if you like this Keno game, you can go to my place and sit there and gamble all day long."

Madasyn Czebiniak is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 724-226-4702, mczebiniak@tribweb.com, or on Twitter @maddyczebstrib.

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