WyoLotto Launches New Draw Game Keno
On Sunday, the WyoLotto started the drawing for its new lottery draw game Keno at various locations across the state.
Keno is a draw game where numbers are randomly picked every four minutes from 5 a.m. to 2 a.m., requiring someone to go to a licensed location to buy a ticket where they pick up to 10 numbers, with the cost of the ticket increasing for each number picked and how much is being wagered.
With Wyoming now offering Keno, that brings the total number of states that offer the game to 18, and includes Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio, Rhode Island, Tennessee, and Washington.
Since launching the lottery in Wyoming in 2014, WyoLotto, which is a separate corporation established by the state government with board members appointed by the governor, has given $26.2 million back to the state, or 75% of the total revenue.
Jim Willox, Chairman of the WyoLotto board of directors, said that they expect to make $9 million in total sales from Keno in the first year it's running, and will have 90 stores operating on launch, though they hope to add more over the next year.
Jon Clontz, CEO of the Wyoming Lottery Corporation, said that would like to have scratch tickets, but the Wyoming legislature, when they originally approved the lottery in 2014, didn't want the sense of instant gratification and the possible harm that that could cause.
"Many members at the time agreed to it that there was a promise that we would never have instant games," Clontz said. "Well I think that promise was dumped long ago with sports betting. So when we reproached some of those former members, they still have ties, and the answer they give us is 'we made a promise.' But the original reason, before this was an experienced gaming state, was that they were worried it would cause gambling addiction, it was instant gratification, and we would create problems with problem gamblers and other societal ills."
According to a study by Wallethub earlier this year, Wyoming ranked 15th for how popular gambling is and ranked 33rd for how much of a problem gambling is.
WyoLotto also funds gambling addiction studies through the Wyoming Responsible Gambling Coalition, which was set up in 2018 using money from unclaimed prizes.
Those with issues related to gambling or addiction should seek out Wyoming resources including the Wyoming Council on Problem Gambling and the Wyoming Department of Health.