Keno Writers and Runners

Similar to bingo, keno requires quite a large staff. Before numbers are drawn, players must hand over their tickets and wagers to either a keno writer stationed in the keno lounge, or to a keno runner who roams all the other areas of the casino.

Keno writers take a player’s original or “master ticket” and mark the numbers on another ticket (the “duplicate”), giving that one back to the player, and keeping the master. Employees in charge of writing duplicate keno tickets for players often must carefully decipher hundreds of potential bets or wagers, and with more than two hundred games played in one day and hundreds of players, this task can become quite tedious. The duplicate ticket not only indicates the chosen numbers, but also has the number of the game and the date on the front. This tactic prevents any cheating on the part of players who try to mark tickets after a game.

Keno runners get a lot of exercise in some of the larger casinos. They take the master ticket to the keno writer, returning with the duplicate ticket. They also serve as the bank for the game at some casinos, taking the money for wagers and paying winners after the game has been called. Both positions require attention to detail, customer service skills, and the ability to add numbers quickly. Those employed as keno runners may need especially good people skills, since many runners suffer the brunt of boorish customers who try to blame their gambling losses on the runner. Most casinos offer specialized training for both runner and writer positions.

A large portion of keno employees’ income will come from tips, but workers in these jobs should not expect the tokes to be as large or as frequent as those given by players at other casino games. Keno runners usually start out at approximately minimum wage. Including tips, a typical yearly income for keno runners is around $20,000. Players who ask advice from writers often tip for this service, as will winners who come up to the keno counter to receive their payoffs. Remember that for the most part this game is only played at casinos in Nevada.

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