FILE PHOTO: State looks to expand gambling

FILE PHOTO: Keno ticket writer Susan Richards watches the keno balls fly during a live-ball drop at Fonner Park Keno last August in Grand Island. State totals for charitable gaming were down last year, except for keno, while local numbers were down. Local officials blame the drop on the smoking ban law, which took effect last year. (Independent/Barrett Stinson)

Two women won half a million dollars last night at the Bandits sports bar.

The women are Grand Island locals who are regular customers, according to manager Tim McMullen. They’re planning to split the $515,958 ticket.

“It’s nice,” he said. “I was afraid it was going to go to someone from out of town who’d never played the game before.”

The game the women won was Fonner Keno’s Ultimate Eight jackpot. The amount of money in the total increases as people play, so the reward grows over time. To win, the women had to match all eight numbers they had on their $2 ticket.

Fonner Keno’s manager, Patrick Smith, said the money in last night’s jackpot had been building for over a year.

He said the last time someone won the game was last February for a little over $200,000, so he was expecting this money to go any day.

The managers said policy and state law didn’t allow them to release the women’s names.

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