Keno is a drawing game that originated in 19th century China. It’s available in both online and land-based casinos, and it’s also offered as a game by some state lotteries across the US and Canada.
The goal in keno is to choose as many matching numbers from those drawn from the keno drum as possible. The more hits you have, the bigger the payout you’ll receive.
Keno is a classic high risk-high reward game where players can win up to $5,000,000 by staking only a few bucks. And therein lies the most appealing aspect of keno — the prospect of striking it rich with a small investment.
This lottery-style gambling game is based purely on luck, which makes it ideal for casual players who want to win big without having to brainstorm complex gambling strategies.
Keno is super easy to learn and play; even absolute beginners can learn the ropes quickly. Our guide below will get you up to speed with everything you need to know before setting off on a keno adventure. We covered all the essentials, from game rules to payout odds and various types of bets you can place, among other things.
Keno is a drawing game that bears a strong resemblance to the lotto because it involves picking numbers and hoping they get drawn from the drum.
The game of keno has 80 numbers, 20 of which are drawn randomly and selected as winning numbers. Your goal is to predict and match as many of these numbers (spots) as possible.
The amount of spots you’re allowed to pick varies between different online casinos and keno variations. On average, you can select 1 – 15 numbers.
The payouts are determined by how many numbers the player has chosen and how many of them hit. The more matching numbers you have, the higher the payout.
Here’s how the game plays out, step-by-step:
All payouts will be displayed in the keno payout chart, so you can keep tabs on how much you can win in each draw.
Some keno variations come with a multi-million dollar jackpot. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to hit all 20 numbers to win the jackpot prize. That would be next to impossible as the odds for it to happen are astronomical and measured in quintillions. Typically, the jackpot is awarded to players that hit all the spots on a 10-number ticket.
When playing keno, there are two ways you can fill out your keno slip.
Regardless of which option you opt for, the drawing will be carried out entirely randomly. Keno is a game based purely on luck, and you can’t affect the outcome by choosing one selection method or the other.
You can make several types of wagers in every keno game, with each one having a distinct payout structure. Here’s the rundown of the most popular types of keno bets available in most online casinos:
Depending on how many numbers you choose, how many of them are matched, and the amount of money you stake, you’ll receive your payout.
You receive the same payout as for a standard straight ticket, but you’re not allowed to use the same number twice.
As with split bets, you’re not allowed to repeat numbers — each number can appear in one group only.
The key advantage of combination tickets over other multi-wagers is that the numbers can overlap. Put differently, you can use the same number(s) in multiple combinations.
Compared to other casino games, keno has very player-unfriendly odds. The probability of winning big is akin to winning the lottery. For perspective, there are 3,535,316,142,212,180,000 (3.5 quintillion) ways the keno drum can draw 20 numbers out of 80. Even if we’re talking about more realistic wins, the odds are not particularly stacked in favor of the players.
The expected net gain for the player is in the 70-75% range, which is much worse than any other casino game.
The table below displays the odds for each number of picks:
|Numbers Picked||Numbers Matches||Approximate Odds|
|1||1||1 in 4|
|2||2||1 in 17|
|3||3||1 in 73|
|3||2||1 in 8|
|4||4||1 in 327|
|4||3||1 in 24|
|4||2||1 in 5|
|5||5||1 in 1551|
|5||4||1 in 83|
|5||3||1 in 12|
|6||6||1 in 7,753|
|6||5||1 in 324|
|6||4||1 in 36|
|6||3||1 in 8|
|7||7||1 in 40,980|
|7||6||1 in 1366|
|7||5||1 in 116|
|7||4||1 in 20|
|7||3||1 in 6|
|8||8||1 in 230, 115|
|8||7||1 in 6,233|
|8||6||1 in 423|
|8||5||1 in 55|
|8||4||1 in 13|
|9||9||1 in 1,380, 688|
|9||8||1 in 30,682|
|9||7||1 in 1,691|
|9||6||1 in 175|
|9||5||1 in 31|
|9||4||1 in 9|
|10||10||1 in 8,911,712|
|10||9||1 in 163,382|
|10||8||1 in 7,385|
|10||7||1 in 621|
|10||6||1 in 88|
|10||5||1 in 20|
|10||0||1 in 22|
As we mentioned earlier, keno has one of the most unfavorable house edges of all casino games. Depending on the variation, and the casino, it’s usually in the 4% – 35% spectrum. With that in mind, you’re probably better off playing video poker, baccarat, or blackjack, which has a house edge of less than 2.5%.
In the table below, we’ve summed up the house edges of the most popular games you’ll find on every casino floor, online or land-based. That way, you’ll know exactly where keno stands against high-profile casino classics.
|Keno||20% – 35%|
|Blackjack||Around 0.5% with optimal strategy|
|Baccarat||1.06% for the banker bet; 1.24% for the player bet|
|Roulette||5.26% for American roulette; 2.70% for European roulette|
|Craps||0.42% – 2.78%, depending on the bet|
|Let it Ride||3.51%|
|Three-Card Poker||3.37% for ante and play bets|
|Video Poker||0.5% – 5% depending on the game; some paytables can return over 100% (negative house edge)|
Live dealer keno and offline keno are essentially the same. Live dealer keno drawings take place in brick-and-mortar casinos and are then streamed in affiliated online casinos in real time. Players can get in on the action via the live casino lounge of their chosen gambling site. You’ll often see it listed in the Specialty games section.
While the game rules are fundamentally the same, there are a few distinct differences between playing online keno and live dealer keno.
The most notable difference between the two keno formats is seen in how the numbers are drawn from the drum. The outcomes of online keno games are determined by the RNG (random number generator). With live keno, professional dealers draw the winning numbers from the hopper.
Furthermore, online and live keno differ from one another in terms of game speed. Online, or RNG keno, is fast-paced and can generate up to 15 drawings per minute. On the other hand, live keno is played at a much slower pace, and rounds can last up to 15 minutes.
It’s relatively easy to find an online casino that offers keno games, that is, if you’re living in states that have legalized gambling. But even if you’re situated in a region where internet wagering is not legally regulated, there are ways to enjoy keno games online — sweepstakes casinos. On these gaming platforms, you don’t play with real money; instead, you use virtual currency or coins that don’t have real value.
The two leading operators in the sweepstakes casino scene are:
FunzPoints casino utilizes the sweepstakes model, making it legal in all US states except Washington to register and play for cash prizes. New players on the site receive a welcome bonus combo that consists of $2.50 in site credit and 1,000 FunzPoints, which can’t be redeemed for real money.
The main draw of FunzPoints is the daily jackpot sweepstakes draw, which dishes out $350 to 40 lucky winners. Other than keno, users can try out 30 in-house slots — games that you won’t find elsewhere. FunzPoints is compatible with iOS and Android and works equally well on both types of mobile devices.
In terms of game variety, Chumba Casino has no equal among sweepstakes gambling sites. There is something for players of all tastes, from table games to slots, keno, and progressives. As part of the no deposit bonus, newcomers at Chumba are entitled to a fantastic coin bundle that comprises 2,000,000 Gold Coins and 2 Sweeps Coins, which have a real monetary value.
You can earn more Sweeps for free through daily social media giveaways, via email requests, or by participating in one of the many promos organized by the casino. Accepted payment methods include Skrill, direct bank transfers, credit and debit cards.
If you’re among the lucky keno players who live in a gambling-friendly environment in states like Michigan, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, or New Jersey, then you’re spoiled for choice. Still, you shouldn’t sign up and deposit with the first online casino that you come across; you should go with the best. These include:
BetMGM is one of the most trusted brands in the entire US casino industry. With a majestic roster of games, high-quality mobile apps, and a superb loyalty program, BetMGM casino is nothing short of phenomenal.
Add to this a generous welcome bonus and stellar customer support, and you’ll realize why this is considered the go-to destination even for the most demanding gamblers out there.
Golden Nugget’s portfolio of games is a sight to behold. The library counts over 700 titles, covering all popular niches — slots, table games, progressives, specialty, and live dealer games. Other amenities of this spectacular gambling site include top-notch mobile apps, a sizable welcome bonus, and a phenomenal rewards club.
With regards to banking, Golden Nugget runs circles around the opposition. The site offers various payment methods to ensure quick, easy, and secure payments for all account holders.
DraftKings has already asserted itself as the leader in DFS and is slowly moving up the ranks in the online casino scene. The operator offers a modern app, a wide range of gaming options, and a great collection of bonuses for both new and existing customers. As an added benefit, DraftKings also offers sports betting in addition to casino games and daily fantasy contests.