By Vanessa Cavasinni, editor Australian Hotelier

Three Keno jackpots worth over $1 million each have been won in Queensland and New South Wales in the last fortnight.

A woman in Upper Coomera won $1.065 million at Wattle Hotel on 22 July, followed by two friends in western Sydney winning $1.3 million dollars at the Village Tavern in Auburn. Over the weekend, a 61-year-old labourer won $1.14 million at Redcliffe Tavern in the greater Brisbane area.

The wins come after a milestone for Keno, which celebrated its twentieth anniversary of being available in Queensland last month. The first state-wide Keno game was played at Jupiters Casino in 1997, and was manually drawn under government supervision. Since then, a total of $4.9 billion in prize money has been won in the state. On average, about $77 million is won each month in New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland and the ACT.

At the Village Tavern, the win for two mates came from the first Keno ticket to be sold in the venue. Venue manager Ken Lin described the moment of having had such a large jackpot going off so quickly.

“I was having my lunch and then my staff called me over and said the customer had given her the ticket and the machine didn’t work. I thought something was wrong or hadn’t been set up properly.

“I rang the Keno support centre and they said someone has won the jackpot at your venue. I went up to the customer and told him ‘I think you’ve won 10 out of 10’. You’ve won $1.3 million.’”

The pair initially didn’t believe Lin, but burst into tears when the reality of their win set in.

Game evolution

At the end of November, Keno released Mega Millions, a higher jackpot version of the original Keno game. It uses the same ball draw but gives players the chance to win $5 million or more every three minutes with a spend of $2, as compared to the $1 minimum for the classic game. This year also marked the first time that Queensland jackpots have been pooled with jackpots in other states and territories,increasing the chances of bigger wins, more often.

David Dicker, national partnerships manager, said that the recent rebrand, along with new products and better jackpots, ensured Keno remained great value for customers.

“For a small outlay, customers can have more chances to win large prizes, with more players becoming millionaires each year.”

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