‘Better than we could have thought’: La Vista, Ralston see boost in keno revenues

The constant changes to social distancing standards has proven difficult for many workplaces this year, but for La Vista and Ralston keno, business is booming.When businesses shut down in early spring, general counsel Bill Harvey at La Vista Keno worried they’d take a hit.”Boy, it was really scary,” said Harvey. “We were way down. It was a real troublesome time for the company.”When La Vista Keno was only allowed 10 people indoors, the location knew it had to find a creative way to play the game.”We were basically selling keno to-go,” said Harvey. “People would come in and get tickets and they’d take them out to their car. They could watch their number on the little TV screen outside.”According to numbers provided by the City of La Vista, La Vista Keno was hit the hardest in March and April, seeing a 36% drop in March compared to the month in the previous year.In May and June, the cash started rolling in. In May, there was a 166% jump compared to May 2019 and in June, a 103% jump.”In fact, we’ve had some of our strongest months in the history of the business since we’ve reopened,” said Harvey.In La Vista’s 2019 fiscal year, the city received $798,388 from keno revenue. In the 2020 fiscal year, La Vista received $1,070,995.”The last four or five months, to be honest, have been better than we even could have thought,” said La Vista Mayor Doug Kindig.Over in Ralston, keno is also doing better than the city expected.”I was really concerned when COVID hit,” said Mayor Don Groesser. “We actually projected down half, but we’re better than that.”According to Groesser, Ralston received $1,270,000 from keno revenue in the 2019 fiscal year. In 2020, the city received $1,205,000.Groesser said behind Omaha and Lincoln, Ralston is the biggest keno in the state.He said he can’t imagine the impact it would have on the city if keno wasn’t open right now.”Oh, it would be devastating,” Groesser said. “We’re not using it totally, but we do us it for projects and we use it for streets and parks and all kinds of things.”Both mayors believe there’s been an increase in keno players because people are looking for something fun to do in a large, spread-out space.”It’s a safe environment down there,” said Groesser. “Everybody wears masks and they’ve got good food and entertainment…It’s pretty well spread out. A lot of tables, a lot of booths and they’re all six feet apart.””The environment that is created over there and the safety of the citizens and players is definitely first,” said Kindig. “Real happy with the game and where it’s progressing.”Harvey said La Vista Keno is looking into more ways to attract players to the game. Starting Monday, the company is upping the top prize to $100,000 and adding daily special games.

The constant changes to social distancing standards has proven difficult for many workplaces this year, but for La Vista and Ralston keno, business is booming.

When businesses shut down in early spring, general counsel Bill Harvey at La Vista Keno worried they’d take a hit.

“Boy, it was really scary,” said Harvey. “We were way down. It was a real troublesome time for the company.”

When La Vista Keno was only allowed 10 people indoors, the location knew it had to find a creative way to play the game.

“We were basically selling keno to-go,” said Harvey. “People would come in and get tickets and they’d take them out to their car. They could watch their number on the little TV screen outside.”

According to numbers provided by the City of La Vista, La Vista Keno was hit the hardest in March and April, seeing a 36% drop in March compared to the month in the previous year.

In May and June, the cash started rolling in. In May, there was a 166% jump compared to May 2019 and in June, a 103% jump.

“In fact, we’ve had some of our strongest months in the history of the business since we’ve reopened,” said Harvey.

In La Vista’s 2019 fiscal year, the city received $798,388 from keno revenue. In the 2020 fiscal year, La Vista received $1,070,995.

“The last four or five months, to be honest, have been better than we even could have thought,” said La Vista Mayor Doug Kindig.

Over in Ralston, keno is also doing better than the city expected.

“I was really concerned when COVID hit,” said Mayor Don Groesser. “We actually projected down half, but we’re better than that.”

According to Groesser, Ralston received $1,270,000 from keno revenue in the 2019 fiscal year. In 2020, the city received $1,205,000.

Groesser said behind Omaha and Lincoln, Ralston is the biggest keno in the state.

He said he can’t imagine the impact it would have on the city if keno wasn’t open right now.

“Oh, it would be devastating,” Groesser said. “We’re not using it totally, but we do us it for projects and we use it for streets and parks and all kinds of things.”

Both mayors believe there’s been an increase in keno players because people are looking for something fun to do in a large, spread-out space.

“It’s a safe environment down there,” said Groesser. “Everybody wears masks and they’ve got good food and entertainment…It’s pretty well spread out. A lot of tables, a lot of booths and they’re all six feet apart.”

“The environment that is created over there and the safety of the citizens and players is definitely first,” said Kindig. “Real happy with the game and where it’s progressing.”

Harvey said La Vista Keno is looking into more ways to attract players to the game. Starting Monday, the company is upping the top prize to $100,000 and adding daily special games.

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