Nevada regulators keep tabs on numbers game
By Paul
What’s the difference between Keno and lotteries? Keno is legal in Nevada, whereas lotteries aren’t. The slim distinction between lotteries and the numbers game Keno is the reason that Nevada gaming regulators say an advertising campaign by a Las Vegas-based keno operator may have gone too far.

The Nevada Gaming Control Board has monitored marketing campaigns by Las Vegas Gaming Inc. on an ongoing basis since the company's keno game, “Nevada Numbers”, was approved over six months ago.

Control Board Chairman Dennis Neilander had requested that the company use the word 'keno' in its advertising pitches to distinguish its game from lotteries. Some current ads do not mention keno, however, Control Board member Scott Scherer said.

Scherer said regulators may contact Las Vegas Gaming to discuss the ads, but have not yet decided if the ads will have to be changed, he said.

Las Vegas Gaming Chief Executive Officer Russ Roth said Wednesday he has not recently been in contact with regulators. A previous promotion by an individual casino that referred to the California state lottery prompted earlier discussions with the board, however, he said.

Roth aims to capitalize on the popularity of lotteries and differentiate the game from regular keno, which suffers from an old-fashioned image.

A decades-old Supreme Court case defined some differences between lottery and keno games, but the interpretation remains somewhat vague, Scherer said.

'I don't blame them from a business standpoint, but it's our responsibility to enforce the law,' he said.

Nevada Numbers is similar to a lottery in that players can draw numbers at one of several casinos in Nevada, though a final drawing is held in one location, Scherer said. Traditional keno drawings are limited to players in a casino's keno lounge. Nevada Numbers players select five numbers, which also makes the game similar to a lottery, he said.

'It's a variation of keno ... that is very close to the line. We're trying to find where that line is.'

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