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Published: Tuesday, 5/8/2012

Ga. firm earns bonus for Keno sales


COLUMBUS -- Increased Keno sales in Ohio are creating a hefty payday for the Georgia company that developed a popular feature of the game.

The state is giving Scientific Games International a 60 percent pay bump for the use of its Keno multiplier feature known as the "Booster" option, after sales of the game jumped more than 30 percent this year.

The additional payments total $245,000 this year and $500,000 in fiscal year 2013, which starts July 1, under a revised contract approved Monday by the state Controlling Board, a spending oversight panel.

Greg Bowers, assistant finance director for the Ohio Lottery Commission, told the board that the increase was a result of better-than-expected Keno sales -- up about $40 million this year -- and increased Booster sales, an extra $1 bet that can multiply a winning ticket up to 10 times.

The commission thought Booster would account for 20 percent of Keno sales, but it has reached 25 percent.

"Keno is doing very well. We're very happy with the trend line," Mr. Bowers said, noting that sales have exceeded all of last fiscal year and are on a record pace.

One reason, he said, is Keno has been expanded beyond bars and taverns to other Lottery retailers.

Scientific Games gets 2 percent of net Booster sales under a contract that also says that "in no event shall compensation" exceed $600,000 this year and $635,000 in fiscal year 2013.

"That's just for contract value," Mr. Bowers said. "For us to continue selling that product, and have a license with the vendor, we have to increase that amount."

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