How to prorate incorrect tickets

May 29, 2006 12:45 AM

In theory, incorrectly marked tickets should not be a problem on computer games, but only on manually written games, since computer keno systems are designed to reject tickets with incorrect conditioning or miscalculated ways.

It is intriguing to note however, that at least in Nevada, the Gaming Control Board has in several recent decisions ruled in favor of players who have had their tickets mis-marked, based upon the players intent.

This is in spite of all regulations that declare the computer generated ticket to be the official one. Here we are not talking simply of moving a spot or a group, but of a confusion of intent.

A simple example might be a split ticket, eight spots grouped 2-2 | 2-2, where the player intended to play 1/8, 2/4, and 4/2 for $7. This is a simple ticket to write on a manual game, but on a computer game this ticket must be split onto two tickets, else the computer system will read this as a 6-way-4 instead of the intended 2/4.

Imagine that the computer writer, through ignorance or carelessness, does not split the ticket, but instead writes the ticket with a 6-way-4 for 50 cents per way, and issues a ticket priced $6. Consequently, the game is called, and one of the player’s original two 4-spots hits solid. If the player’s original intent is taken into consideration, how much should he be paid? This is how a pro-rating situation might occur at a computer keno game.

Tickets with too few spots

In both theory and practice, this situation should not occur, since it is traditionally a keno rule that the number of spots marked on the ticket rule over the conditioning.

In other words, even if a ticket is marked as a $1 8-spot, if it has only seven spots on it, then it is a seven spot, regardless of the conditioning.

Obviously, if this situation arises due to writer error, the situation may favor either the player or the house, depending on how the winning spots are caught. If a player originally marks eight spots, but somewhere along the line a spot is dropped due to writer error, a seven spot results.

If the customer then hits a 7/7 (but does not hit his original 8th spot), he will be paid an amount greater than his original 7/8. On the other hand, if he hits a 7/7 and his original 8th spot, he will be paid an amount considerably less than he would have been.

Since this type of error has the potential to benefit either the player or the house, the traditional keno rule is inherently fair and should be strictly and consistently enforced.

The traditional rule was developed to avoid the situation of a sharp player who knows that the keno game can and must pay off on the inside (mis-marked) ticket, but will also pay off on the original ticket, gaining the advantage of essentially paying for one ticket but playing two.

Tickets with
too many spots

Although the traditional rule applies in this situation as well, there is one further situation that requires pro-rating. This arises when a ticket is accepted that has more spots on it than the published pay tables of the keno game contain.

If the largest ticket on the pay table is a 15 spot for example, and a ticket is accepted by a writer with 16 or 17 spots on it, though it is only conditioned a 15, the ticket must be pro-rated.

The simplest approach to tickets with more spots than the conditioning indicates is to simply remove one or more winning spots until the remaining spots match the conditioning. This was the procedure at many games through the years.

Although this procedure has its charms, at least from the house’s point of view, (it is quick, simple, and benefits the house) it will undoubtedly make the player somewhat unhappy.

A fairer procedure was developed and used at many keno games to handle this situation. The ticket was simply treated as a king ticket, and the payouts were pro-rated accordingly.

For instance, a ticket with 16 spots on it, but conditioned as a 15 spot for $1 was treated as a 16-way-15 played for $0.0625 per way. This procedure is eminently fair both to the house and to the player, and leads to few disputes.

Well that’s it for this week! Good luck, I’ll see you in the lounge! e-mail: [email protected]