NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

November 28, 2012

Mass. Lottery to launch Keno-like poker game as casino wait continues

BOSTON — The Massachusetts Lottery will roll out a new monitor-based poker game early next year, replacing an existing racing game that proved to be a flop.

The poker game, described for now as World Wide Poker, is similar to KENO and will be played on a monitor at many of the same venues as KENO, Lottery officials said during a Lottery Commission meeting yesterday.

Approximately 1,000 KENO retailers will test out the new game when it is introduced in three to four months, according to Paul Sternburg, executive director of the Lottery. There are about 3,000 KENO retailers across the state that could eventually carry the poker game.

Sternburg described the game as “basically KENO” but played in a different platform. Players will pick between five to seven cards from a deck of 52 cards that flash face down on a screen. Poker players will win cash based on their hands. The details of the game are still being finalized, along with the payouts. The jackpot could be worth as much as $75,000 and grow if no one wins, Sternburg said.

The commission yesterday approved a $1 million contract over three years with New Vision Gaming and Development, which developed the concept for the game.

The new poker game is being rolled out as the state gears up for casino gambling, expected by many industry watchers to take a chunk out of Lottery revenues. Lottery sales are projected to take anywhere from a 3 to 10 percent hit once casinos are up and running.

Sternburg said the introduction of the poker game is unrelated to casinos opening in the state. Lottery officials began looking to replace the racing game two years ago. Sternburg said he does not expect the poker game to be affected by casinos any more than other Lottery games, saying it is “not really a card game. It is really just KENO.”

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