Keno tournaments need even playing field

December 02, 2014 3:08 AM


Las Vegas Casino Keno Tournament Procedure This column has discussed many keno tournaments. There is a need, however, to add safeguards to make sure the tournaments are fair to all concerned. Most tournaments have safeguards in place, some do not.

To make things completely fair, we should never be allowed to “buy” the tournament. Having money does not make you any better of a keno player or person.

If there is no limit on what you can spend, you can keep playing tickets until you buy-in enough to come out on top. This does not show any skill, just that you have money. Most tournaments have a set buy-in and if you want to play more you buy in again. This way the same buy-in competes.

Even on the mini-tournaments this should be done. Yes, the casino may earn more revenue if there is no limit, but if you disappoint the regular players, the casino will not make more money as they will play elsewhere, where they get a fairer deal. Most tournaments allow a maximum amount per ticket or way and no duplicate tickets. This is good. Limiting 1- and 2-spot tickets to ways is also good.

The same applies to the playing conditions. Convenient observation of the tournament is important so you know what type of tickets to play and where you stand. Tournament areas must be at least 50% nonsmoking and preferably all nonsmoking. The health destroying habit of 20% should not affect the other 80% of players. They should not have to choose between toxic fumes and observing the tournament.

Comfortable chairs are a must and the disabled area seating needs to be as close to the action as the nondisabled seating. It needs to be as easy for the person in a wheelchair or with a cane or walker to get to the keno writers as the nondisabled person.

During tournament hours all players should have equal access to the food facilities. If one player bypasses the line and gets back to the tournament area faster, this is unfair to the players who must wait in line to be seated at the restaurant. Thus you may have to upgrade tournament players to high roller status with line passes during the tournament to make everything equal.

Most tournaments have the majority of these safeguards in place. To those that do not there is room for improvement. Another very important issue is the handling of disputes. This must be done in an equitable way without having to involve the Gaming Control Board.

There have been some problems in tournaments where there was a question of the buy-in being used up. Just saying the computer shows a buy-in is used up may be wrong due to input errors. It is possible to print out the number and amount of all tickets a player has played under the same tourney account number to check who is right.

The XpertX software allows for this. Make sure you use the full package of software available from XpertX or whomever you use to allow for easy investigation of any problems during the tournament.

I offer the following idea: Have the rules and tournament procedure checked by a neutral outsider to spot any weaknesses. I offer my services to any casino in this regard. To be 100% impartial I am willing to not be a player in any tournaments in which I am involved in this capacity. The integrity of the tournaments comes first.

Casino and keno managers should feel free to write me at any time. This also goes for the players. Let’s have the keno tournaments be among the most innovative, the most fun, and the best ethically run of all gaming tournaments in the industry.

Keno is number one to many of us. Let’s keep it that way!

Pesach Kremen is a former UNLV Masters Gaming student, has won and placed in multiple local keno tournaments, and has written several academic papers on Keno. You can reach him at

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