Online Keno comes to Missouri
By Paul
The fine line between Internet –based gambling (which is illegal in the US) and state-sanctioned electronic gambling was further blurred yesterday, when the Missouri Lottery rolled out its online Keno game, Quick Draw keno

The game, modeled on the Las Vegas version, will open in about 470 bars, restaurants, bowling alleys and fraternal organizations. Lottery commissioners expect Quick Draw keno to generate sales of $79 million in the first year.

After the winning players, the retailers and the commission get their shares, the profits -- about $21 million -- will go to public schools under the 2003 budget.

In Quick Draw keno, players choose up to 10 numbers from 80. A computer then selects 20 winning numbers. The more of those a player chooses, the greater the payoff.

”New numbers are drawn every five minutes, from 5 a.m. to 12:50 a.m.

Bets range from $1 to $20 per game and payoffs can range from $1 to $100,000 for a $1 ticket, lottery spokesman Gary Gonder said.

There is no limit to the amount of money players can stake.

Governor Bob Holden endorsed keno in his January State of the State message as an important new source of revenue in tight fiscal times, despite the objections of some Missouri lawmakers who are keen to limit gambling. 'It was a year where we were looking under rocks, in sofas, under cushions -- anywhere we could, to find money in the toughest budget year in years,' Holden's spokesman, Jerry Nachtigal, said.

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