Applying more paint to keno balls

March 06, 2012 3:00 AM


Last week we talked about the idea that the amount of paint on the keno ball could affect the outcome of the call. I pretty much debunked that with the proviso that this idea can actually be tested these days through simple statistical methods.

Back in the day there used to be theories bandied back and forth about how the paint on the balls could be used to deliberately tamper with the outcome of the balls. There were two methods proposed:

• The use of some kind of heavier than usual paint that would give the ball a discernable heavier weight than untampered balls.

• The use of some kind of magnetic paint.

I need to stress that as far as I know neither of these methods has ever been detected in use by cheaters.

The use of some kind of heavy paint seems to be plausible, perhaps the inclusion of lead or uranium in the pigment. This could be accomplished either by someone inside or outside the game (but one who had access to the balls at some stage of production.)

In the second case, the operators of the game might be unaware of the cheat. Although it is not proven that this is possible or that additional weight on a ball will influence its frequency, some keno games do weigh them occasionally as a preventative measure for this kind of scam. I think that is a good idea.

Now the use of some kind of magnetic paint might be less obvious as the balls would all weigh the same and presumably look alike. However, there would have to be some kind of electromagnet installed either at the top or the bottom of the ball selection device.

This is not impossible but unlikely without the participation of the game operators. This cheat can be easily detected if the investigator simply gets a strong magnet and passes it over the set of balls, looking closely for movement. If the balls are magnetized, it will be evident.

Occasionally you will see keno balls "stick" either in the top of one of the tubes of the blower, or sometimes one or more will stick around the top of the glass bowl.

I remember one game where the balls would stick on almost every game. It turns out that the graveyard crew, when cleaning the rabbit ears was using an electric blow dryer to dry out the ears after cleaning.

Well that’s it for this week. See you at