The province of Nova Scotia has not hit the jackpot with the game of keno. Nova Scotia Gaming Corporation show that the electronic lottery earned just $700,000 from the keno in its first 4 months of operation, a full $1.6 million below what Nova Scotia had hope it would earn from electronic keno.
After $400,000 was paid out in prizes to gamers and $40,000 to retailers, the group had only $260,000 left. Nova Scotia Gaming Corporation Spokeswoman Robyn MacIsaac said on September 5th, 3009 that amount is not considered profit because of operating costs would have to be subtracted from that. The corporation is hoping that keno can recover from its poor showing but it could go either way at this point.
MacIsaac said that while other gaming products have fallen below in revenue expectations after their debut in Nova Scotia, she said that she is not aware of any other game that miss the target by such a big margin. She said that the corporation is very disappointed with the results.
Finance Minister Graham Steele, who ordered that the keno study of the corporation be release in public, still has not made up his mind when it comes to the future of the game. The New Democrat member is still conducting his own study and talking with retailers and other stakeholders. MacIsaac said that Finance Minister Graham Steele will make a decision regarding the game when he has all of the needed information.
Keno started on March 2nd, 2009 when the Progressive Conservatives were still in office, is in play only in bars across Nova Scotia for twelve hours a day, 12:00 noon to 12:00 midnight, instead of the eighteen to twenty-four hours that it can be played outside of the province.
Players pick their numbers, buy a ticket from bar employee and watch the draws on a big screen. The draws happen every 5 minutes, with a ten-minute break each hour and 1-hour break each day. The gaming corporation said that the maximum wager is $10, about half the usual standard.
The report stated that it is possible that one of the reasons for the games performance relates to the design modifications created in order to meet the standards of social responsibility. It would cost Nova Scotia a total of $3.5 million to pull out of electronic keno and most of that would be go toward writing off assets like game equipment, hardware and software, the cost of the installation of the game, lottery terminals and other equipment.
The report also states that there are no legal hurdles to prevent the provincial government from stopping the game but it also says that the chance to study whether the province's version can make some money would be lost if it were to be shut down prematurely.
Beginning this week, the corporation will market electronic keno with advertisement material at the retail level and will continue with focus groups to assess its financial viability.