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Keno Cheats

2007.10.31
Keno Cheats

I was reading this week's news, and I stumbled across an interesting case in Nebraska. According to the article, three employees of Blue Springs Keno have been charged with tampering with the Keno machines.

I read this article with a lot of curiosity. Usually, these machines are pretty much tamper-proof. For example, if you add more of one number ball, there's a chance the same number will come up twice, which would lead to you getting caught pretty fast. If you take out too many balls, people will notice there are balls missing. Sure you can eliminate a few numbers, but it just won't change the statistics enough to make a big difference.

With the modern electronic Keno machines, it's absolutely impossible to beat the system. The chip is hardwired for random numbers.

So what did these employees do? It seems like they would take the last number drawn in the previous draw, put a single-number bet on it, and keep the ball aside to make sure it was drawn. Since a win on a single-number bet pays 3:1, they were able to make a cool thousand each time. Not bad for a day's cheating.

But, of course, they got caught. It's inevitable that they'd get caught. Keno has odds that are fairly predictable. If you see someone beating the odds regularly, it's going to get suspicious. The employees are being charged with felony theft, using a lottery device for cheating, and violating the lottery act. Those are a class three felony, a class four felony, and a class one misdemeanor, respectively. Together, the three crimes carry a maximum sentence of over twenty years and fines of over $25,000.

Realistically, though, they'll probably be given a five year sentence, which will mean 2.5 and then parole, at worst. Currently, though, there simply isn't enough evidence to get a conviction, which is why they closed the case a few months ago and just reopened it.

It's an interesting thing, really, cheating in Keno. I mean, it's supposed to be the kind of game where you can't cheat, and I suppose that these people were only able to cheat because they were employees. Regular patrons never touch the Keno balls, much less manipulate them.

The article doesn't mention how the three employees were caught. I wonder if they were caught just because the odds didn't add up or if they were caught doing something specifically incriminating.

I also wonder what drives people to cheat this way. I suppose they see it as a victimless crime. Blue Springs Keno certainly didn't lose money on those Keno draws, and one person winning doesn't take away from another's winnings. It's certainly easier to justify than shoplifting, for example. Still, where's the sense of honesty? The sense of pride in one's job? The sense of fairness? I really have to wonder if five years in prison is really enough for these criminals who give a bad name to Keno halls all over the world.

Written for Online Keno by Joy