LETTER: Do the Keno math

The Register printed an article on the game of Keno in its July 14 issue, which informed the public that this traditional Las Vegas
Sandusky Register Staff
May 24, 2010

 

The Register printed an article on the game of Keno in its July 14 issue, which informed the public that this traditional Las Vegas game was coming to town next month, and would soon be available for play at a variety of local establishments. An opportunity to win $100,000 on a dollar bet sure sounds appealing, but let’s do the math first.

The lottery initially selects 20 different numbers from among 80 possible, and this can be done in a lot of ways, more specifically, in approximately 3.5 quintillion ways. The player then selects 10 numbers, from among the same 80, but to win the $100,000 all 10 of these numbers must be included in the lottery’s pick 20. This, in turn, can be accomplished in a mere 184,756 ways. This small risk is supposedly offset by the size of the winning purse, but in this case the purse is not big enough, because, on a one dollar bet, the player can expect to win, on the average, five 10-billionths of a dollar. So, out of every dollar you bet, you can kiss 99.9 percent of it good-bye. Now, there are usually other payouts in case not all 10 of your picks belong to the lottery’s selection of 20, but, unfortunately the odds are still heavily stacked against you.

I am surprised that the city fathers will be allowing this game to be played, because they usually squash similar games at the neighborhood mom and pop local bar — it’s only churches and Cedar Point that get away with hosting games of chance. Why is that?

Thomas Dence

Huron