Live-ball keno will be returning to the Scotts Bluff County game at the start of next month, but before that can begin, the old sets of keno balls have to be destroyed.
In the back parking lot of Lucky Keno Monday evening, staff dramatically destroyed some of the old balls by setting them on fire inside a small bucket, with flames rising a few feet out of the container.
General manager Matt Schaneman tells KNEB News the destruction was required by state gaming officials, but the winds were somewhat uncooperative. “We couldn’t destroy all 640 of them today, but the reason we did it this way is that you have to destroy the balls to get the new balls in so there’s no mis-matching between the two sets,” says Schaneman. “So, we have an all-new set of balls going in, we’ll be changing them every shift, so we had to make sure we destroy all the other balls before we get rolling.”
A temporary halt in the live game was ordered early this year, after Lucky Keno reported to the state that unusual payouts involving certain numbers New Year’s Eve. Investigators found wear and tear on some of the balls made them behave in an irregular fashion in the blower system that selects the numbers.
Schaneman says keno players are excited to see the live-ball game return as they think it gives them better odds of winning. The live-ball game starts back up 9 a.m. Thursday morning.