Las Vegas company makes keno new again with kiosk

Keno, which is one of the oldest and simplest casino games, is big business in Nevada.

Keno players select numbers, typically 1 to 80, then wait to see if those numbers are picked during the game.

But for casinos it can be an expensive game to operate, in terms of employees and square footage dedicated to keno.

Gaming Arts LLC thinks it has developed a solution.

The Las Vegas-based company has developed EZ Keno Kiosk, which allows players to process their own tickets. The kiosk has a bill acceptor, ticket printer, touch-screen display for play selection and a bar code reader to scan the ticket.

The EZ Keno Kiosk also offers more than 40 games, from traditional keno, a version of bingo, to a progressive game in which players with $1 bets could win $200,000 if they match nine numbers.

"We are marketing this kiosk to everyone," from small neighborhood casinos to resorts on the Strip, said John English, senior vice president, business development and public relations, with Gaming Arts.

The privately held gaming company declined to disclose development costs.

The EZ Keno Kiosk will undergo field tests at the Siena in Reno. The casino is owned by Gaming Arts parent company Colvin Gaming Group.

"The response to the kiosk has been amazing," English said. "We designed it to be easy to use, as well as an added convenience for the customer that takes up less space for the operator."

English said the EZ Keno Kiosk "was the first of its type to be developed in the U.S." He declined to speculate on when the Nevada Gaming Control Board will approve the EZ Keno Kiosk.

Colvin Gaming is more than keno kiosks and a boutique hotel in Reno. The company with offices in Las Vegas and Reno recently spun off a new subsidiary, Z4 Gaming LLC, which is developing a new online gaming platform that is scheduled for release during the fourth quarter.

A free-to-play gaming site will launch by the end of June, according to the company.

The Nevada Gaming Commission licensed Z4 Gaming as an interactive service provider in December. Colvin Gaming's plans call for the Siena to be the operator, Gaming Arts a service provider and Z4 Gaming the interactive content provider.

English said Z4's platform will be designed to deliver any game, to any device, in any legal jurisdiction worldwide. Z4 has developed nearly 100 games, including poker and a full suite of keno and bingo games.

"The Z4 Gaming platform along with the 100 new proprietary games will uniquely position (us) for the future," English said. "The scalability and robustness of its cloud-based platform is truly state-of-the-art and provides the infrastructure necessary for rapid expansion."

He said the time is right to launch Z4 Gaming as "states now realize the opportunities available through interactive gaming."