How the Notorious Keno Cheat Did It (The Ron Harris Story)

how to cheat at keno machine

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Last Updated: February 21, 2024

Most people do not know how to cheat at Keno machine, but one man figured out how to do so. In January 1995, on the 14th day of the month, a seemingly casual gambler bought $100 worth of Keno tickets at Bally’s in Atlantic City. The name of this buyer was Reid Errol McNeal and his purchases did not raise any concerns until one of his tickets, with odds of 230,000:1 hit all 8 numbers correctly. The suspicions at the relevant quarters were raised as the odds were next to impossible on this $100,000 jackpot. 

Upon further questioning, before he was cleared to receive his winnings, McNeal didn’t seem to add up. He did not want to collect his winnings by cheque, he didn’t have any identification, and he wasn’t exactly ecstatic about winning the money. This prompted further investigations, and state troopers were called. When they got to McNeal’s room, there was a second man in the room who was called Ronald Harris. After thorough investigations, law enforcement discovered Ron was an employee of the Nevada Gaming Control Board, and something was fishy. 

Turns out Ronald Harris was a computer programmer and technician. His job was to ensure gaming machines were properly tuned and not rigged, ironic! He figured out that Random Number Generators at the time had difficulty randomizing future outputs, so they relied on past outputs to generate new ones. Ronald duplicated the code in the Keno machines and used it to predict future numbers by entering the past numbers generated by the machine. It worked too well, too quickly, and resulted in the biggest Keno win ever at impossible odds. The plan unraveled, and he was arrested and sentenced to 7 years in prison after he pleaded guilty in 1996. 

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