Pennsylvania Lottery Launches Keno in Local Bars and Restaurants

Written By Kim Yuhl on May 1, 2018 - Last Updated on December 11, 2023
Keno sign on a marquee

On May 1, the Pennsylvania Lottery begins modernizing its portfolio of offerings by adding instant win online games at, venues, and wagering options. The changes are made possible through Pennsylvania’s 2017 gaming expansion law that passed last fall.

“We pride ourselves on responding to market conditions,” lottery executive director Drew Svitko said in a press release. “We recognize the opportunities presented by new technology and the need for modernizing our operations and points of purchase and the way we’re delivering products.

The Pennsylvania Lottery introduces Keno at your local bar

Beginning Tuesday, May 1, lottery players can take part in a fast-paced game of Keno at their favorite bar or restaurant. It is the first new game to roll out as part of the expansion.

How to play Keno:

  • Purchase a payslip for $1 to $20 per play
  • Choose up to 10 numbers from 1 to 80
  • A computer randomly draws 20 numbers
  • Match the computer’s numbers for a chance to win

The Lottery’s processor generates a new draw every four minutes. Players can watch the draws live on a monitor in the venue where they are playing. Winning numbers are also posted online at and on the Lottery’s mobile app.

According to Svitko, Keno will pay players about $0.65 for every dollar wagered, similar to lottery’s current return. Find complete Keno game rules, prizes, and chances of winning on the PA Lottery website.

“Pennsylvania Lottery Keno players are going to love this exciting, new way to play and win,” said Svitko. “Although you can play Keno at any Lottery retailer, it’s the first game we’ve specifically marketed to businesses where adults gather to have fun – such as bars and restaurants.”

Svitko acknowledged that players having more opportunities to wager brings additional risk to its customers To help mitigate the risk; players will have the ability to monitor and limit the amount of money they wager or the amount of time they spend wagering through their online accounts.

Players must be 18 years of age or older and physically be located within Pennsylvania to play.

Online wagering coming soon to the Pennsylvania Lottery

Keno is only the first phase of the Pennsylvania Lottery expansion. Sometime in late May, players can set up online lottery accounts and purchase 10 to 15 different games.

“These games are meant to appeal to a new audience,” Svitko said. “These are a lot closer to a game like Candy Crush than what people are accustomed to in a game like Powerball. These are meant to be engaging, entertaining, relevant games. We have fewer young people playing now than we would like.”

Following the implementation of the online lottery, Xpress Sports will launch. Xpress Sports allows players to place bets on fantasy outcomes in simulated football games and auto races.  Like Keno, wagers happen in local bars and restaurants. Monitors will be available to show the games and races.

Svitko said Pennsylvania will be the first U.S. lottery to launch these specific games when it rolls out in about two months time.

Online gaming revenue projections

Last year, lottery revenue unexpectantly fell. This year, income is ahead of last year’s numbers. Lottery officials predict $4.2 billion in sales and $1.1 billion in profits this year.

Live and online gambling profit projections for the new offerings are:

  • Keno – $27 million
  • Online lottery games – $30 million
  • Xpress Sports – $13 million

The Pennsylvania Lottery is the only lottery in the nation to allocate 100 percent of its profits to elderly citizens in the Keystone State.

The revenue, including that generated from the new offerings, will help seniors with:

  • Costs of prescription drugs
  • Rent and property taxes
  • Transportation services
  • In-home assistance

The expansion of the Lottery portfolio will not only grow the lottery’s customer base; it will ensure future revenue growth and continued support of Pennsylvania’s seniors.

More Lottery venues and new customers

Expect the fast and frequent play of Keno and Xpress Sports to introduce new and younger customers to the Pennsylvania Lottery.

If projections hold true, Keno will supplement the revenue generated by its existing games including the Daily Number and Powerball. Expanding into bars, restaurants, and clubs across the state is a win for the new lottery retailers and for the Lottery itself.

Svitko estimates 500 new venues applied to participate in Keno by installing monitors on site. The Lottery is actively recruiting new retailers across the state and hopes the number will reach between 2,000 and 3,000 within the next two years.

The biggest challenge is the competition for attention and space between the Lottery monitors and TVs showing sporting events that are in high demand.

However you look at it, your local bar and restaurant are likely to become a favorite hangout.

Photo by Aeronautics /

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Kim Yuhl

Kim Yuhl is a freelance writer and blogger who writes about poker culture and the online gambling industry. A part-time member of the poker media since 2013, Kim recently sold her marketing business to write full-time while traveling around the world. You can learn more about her work and travels at

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