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Mega Jackpot "21"



    If you know how to play the state lottery, then you already know the basics of playing casino Big Board Keno. Like the lottery, Big Board Keno involves betting on a single number or a set of numbers which you can choose as you wish, in the hope that your number or numbers will be selected in a random drawing, There are, however, substantial differences from the lottery -- not so much in the way the game is played, but rather in the variety of ways you can play it. These options offer much more enjoyment, and often many more wins, than any lottery.

    On any Keno game you can pick from one to twenty numbers. You do this by taking a blank Keno ticket and, with the Keno marker which is provided at any Keno location, simply marking the numbers you wish to play. The Keno ticket is about 5" square, and on the face of it is a printed grid of 80 numbers, divided into what is called the "top" -- containing 40 numbers, and the "bottom" -- containing the other 40 numbers. You can mark these numbers by crosses, or circles, ticks, or in any manner, so long as you make it clear that you are marking a specific manner. Once you have marked the ticket with the numbers you wish to play, you mark the amount you want to bet in the top right hand corner of the ticket, where it says "Amount". Then, below on the right hand side, you write the total number of numbers you picked and take the ticket to the Keno Writer, who sits behind the Keno counter.

    Since most Keno games are now computerized, the Keno Writer will generally take your marked ticket, place it over a computer display the size of which corresponds to the size of your Keno ticket, press the numbers you picked, enter the amount you are betting, enter the number of games you wish to play, and then press a button marked "Video". The computer will then print out a computerized version of the ticket you marked, which, once you've paid the amount of your bet, the Keno writer gives to you.

    This computerized print-out corresponds directly to the ticket you had marked, but also includes other information such as game number, ticket code, writer's code, date and time of purchase. This ticket can also include your account number, if you are a regular Keno player and wish your action to be tracked for casino rating purposes; and it can also list the number of consecutive games played if you play your numbers for more than one game. [In the old days tickets were marked by hand using a messy black ink. This was time-consuming and often resulted in writer error. Since Keno is already a pretty slow game, compared to other games in the casino, the advantages of computerization are obvious]. It is important that you hold on to your computerized ticket. You will need to produce it in order to collect any winnings to which you are entitled.

    In order to claim your winnings, you must also remember to return to the Keno Counter at the completion of your game, and before the start of the next game. Many players often stray away, distracted, and forget to claim their winning tickets before the next game. But gaming regulations stipulate that winnings must be collected on any ticket prior to the start of the next game. So, if you fail to do this, you forfeit any winnings.

    But Keno also allows for so-called "multi-race" tickets. With this option you can play whatever numbers you pick on the same ticket for up to 20 consecutive games. You must however play the same numbers for each game and, of course, the cost of your bet will increase proportionately to the number of games you play. With multi-race tickets you cannot claim any winnings at the end of each game, but must wait until the final game in your series has been called. This can be a long wait, especially if you play up to 20 games in a row, which is the maximum number of consecutive races allowed on such tickets.

    So, to give players the option of doing something else while playing Keno, and to combat player complaints from those unlucky lucky players who win but forget to claim their prizes in a timely fashion, a new multi-race variation often called "stray and play" Keno has been introduced at many casinos in Nevada.

    This option allows players to play from 21 to 1,000 consecutive games without having to be present and with up to one year to collect winnings. You can actually go back home, then mail in your ticket a few weeks later, or even keep it and come back next year and the winnings are still yours to collect.

    These sections were written by Victor Royer

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