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Online Keno Frequently Asked Questions

Wed, May 1, 12:12am by William Brown

Last Updated Mon, Oct 7, 11:25pm

Players new to Keno have common questions they want answers. For your convenience, we’ve compiled a frequently-asked-questions sections for our online keno guide. If you have any questions, browse through the Keno FAQ below before searching any further.

How Do You Win at Keno?

Keno is a game of pure chance. No strategy or skill is involved in winning at Keno, which is one of the keys to the game’s popularity. People anywhere can pick their lucky numbers and take a shot at a big Keno prize. In short, winning at Keno is about pure luck, so don’t worry about keno strategy or keno tips.

What Is a Spot in Keno?

A spot is an active number on a keno ticket. If you pick a number to win, it’s called a spot. Keno players can buy anywhere between 1 to 20 spots in any given drawing. Some websites limit the number of spots to 15. The more spots you buy, the more chances you have to win at Keno.

What Is a Hit in Keno? What Is a Catch?

A hit is a winning number in keno. If you buy 15 spots and 8 of them are picked in the drawings, you receive 8 hits. Keno pay tables pay out for the number of hits you have. Hits are sometimes called “catches”.

What Are the Odds of Winning in Keno?

Gambling experts often cite the astronomically low odds of hitting all 20 numbers on a 20-spot ticket. This would be 1 in 3.5 quintillion, which means it would take longer than the life span of the universe to win, if you played once a week. But those statistics really don’t get at the truth about Keno odds.

You buy a bunch of spots and don’t hope for perfection. Even if you play the 20-spot game, that means 60 non-winning numbers are in the tumbler. Below are the odds of having a certain number of hits (winning numbers) when you buy 20 spots.

Hits – Odds in 20-Spot Keno

  • 0 Hits– 1 in 843
  • 1 Hit– 1 in 86
  • 2 Hits– 1 in 20
  • 3 Hits– 1 in 8
  • 4 Hits– 1 in 4.87
  • 5 Hits– 1 in 4.27
  • 6 Hits– 1 in 5.29
  • 7 Hits– 1 in 8.83
  • 8 Hits– 1 in 20
  • 9 Hits– 1 in 61
  • 10 Hits– 1 in 253
  • 11 Hits– 1 in 1424
  • 12 Hits– 1 in 10,969
  • 13 Hits– 1 in 118,085
  • 14 Hits– 1 in 1,821,881
  • 15 Hits– 1 in 41,751,453
  • 16 Hits– 1 in 1,496,372,111
  • 17 Hits– 1 in 90,624,035,965
  • 18 Hits– 1 in 10,512,388,171,812
  • 19 Hits– 1 in 2,946,096,785,176,811
  • 20 Hits– 1 in 3,535,316,142,212,174,320

Looking at the odds, you can see why people named this game “Quine”, because the most common number of hits is 5. You might notice that the odds of hitting the big jackpot are much lower than in Mega Millions or Powerball lotteries, with much smaller payouts.

That’s true, but those lottery games don’t pay out nearly as high for the smaller number of winning numbers — and don’t pay out in nearly as many winning scenarios. Keno is a game where you’ll get paid more smaller payouts than in western-style lottery games, while occasionally having one big payout.

What Is the House Edge in Keno?

The house edge varies wildly in keno. In Melbourne, you’ll find keno games with amazingly good payout tables. Competition is fierce and Melbourne casinos offer Keno with a house edge in the 3% to 4% range. In places with no competition, the house edge can be as much as 30%, which is awful. Like a lottery, the chances of winning are huge, so the house edge is large. 15% to 20% is common.

What Is a Keno Paybook?

A paybook is a guide to keno given by land-based casinos. A Keno paybook typically has a list of the rules, paytables, and a tutorial of how to play. If you go to a land-based casino to play keno, ask the staff for a playbook.

What Are Keno Patterns?

A keno pattern is a so-called pattern to the winning numbers. Online keno writers talk about popular keno patterns and use official-sounding phrases like 4-card pattern and 20-card pattern. All of this is bunk. If you play at a legitimate website with a true random number generator, there is no pattern to the keno drawings.

What Is a Keno Drawing?

A keno drawing is method used for determining results in keno. You might have a mechanical drawing with a tumbler. In online keno, operators use software random number generators to determine results. In either case, operators schedule periodical drawings, allowing players to buy spots in between.

What Is a Keno Draw?

A keno draw is the same as a keno drawing. In certain parts of the world, local gamblers call lottery draws either “draw” or “drawing”. In Australia and New Zealand and countries influenced by Aussie gamblers, they have keno draws. In the United States and Canada and places influenced by American parlance, they have keno drawings.

What Is the Payout in Keno?

Keno has many different payout tables. Even with a single lotto company, you’ll find multiple payout tables. For instance, the Connecticut Lottery has Keno payout tables for everything from a 1-spot game to a 10-spot game.

To show the wide variety, I’ll print a few of the popular Keno payout tables. I’ll show the general 10-spot game table, the 12-spot game table, and the Lottoland 10-spot keno game’s payable. Notice how the payout distribution changes based on the number of spots you buy.

10-Spot Game: Connecticut

Match – Prize

  • 10 Matches– $100,000
  • 9 Matches– $5,000
  • 8 Matches– $500
  • 7 Matches– $50
  • 6 Matches– $15
  • 5 Matches– $2
  • 0 Matches– $4

12-Spot Game: Massachusetts

Match – Prize

  • 12 Matches– $1,000,000
  • 11 Matches– $25,00
  • 10 Matches– $2,500
  • 9 Matches– $1,000
  • 8 Matches– $150
  • 7 Matches– $25
  • 6 Matches– $5
  • 0 Matches– $4

10-Spot Game: Lottoland

Match – Prize

  • 10 Matches– $1,000,000
  • 9 Matches– $10,000
  • 8 Matches– $580
  • 7 Matches– $50
  • 6 Matches– $6
  • 5 Matches– $2
  • 4 Matches– $1

What Are the Most Common Numbers in Keno?

Keno has 80-ball drawings, with the numbers 1 through 80. In theory, no number is more likely to be drawn than any other number. If mechanically drawn, some keno lotteries might have balls which appear more often, but those would be on a lottery-by-lottery basis. In a modern fair keno drawing, no numbers should have an advantage.

Many online keno games have a board which shows the latest 10 to 20 drawings. Players might use these lists to pick “hot” or “cold” numbers. In truth, the likelihood of a number being drawn is unaffected by previous drawings when using a true random number generator.

Where Did the Name Keno Originate From?

The name “Keno” is thought to be derived from the French word ‘quine’, meaning either “five winning numbers”, or the Latin word ‘quini’, meaning “five apiece”. Despite the French-sounding name, the game definitely derives from China. Keno appears to be the name given to the game after it arrived in the United States (in Houston), so any French name might derive from the gamblers of nearby New Orleans.

What Is the Chinese Name for Keno?

In Macau, the game was called baige piao, from the Portuguese word for “white dove ticket”. Supposedly, results of drawings were carried to villages via carrier pigeons. In Cantonese, baige piao was pronounced “baak-gap-piu” or “pah-ka-pu”. In China and the Oceanian region in the 19th century, a Keno-style game called Pakapoo flourished.

What Is the History of Keno?

The common myth about Keno is it’s an ancient Chinese lottery game. Stories tell of the first Chinese emperor funding the construction of the Great Wall of China with a Keno lottery. All of that is bunk.

Many believe Keno originated in Canton, China in the 1840s, though Cantonese gamblers might have acquired the game from elsewhere in China. The then-Portuguese colony of Macau first licensed Keno operators in 1847. Cantonese people immigrated from Southern China to the Western United States in the 1860s, mainly to build the Transcontinental Railroad.

How Did Keno Arrive in the Casinos?

Certain numbers of Chinese brought Keno to a Texas casino, which operated outside the law in the city of Houston in 1866. First popularized in Texas, Keno spread in popularity through the decades. Eventually, Nevada casinos began to house games of Keno, where the lottery game became popular throughout the world. These days, online keno is popular in online and mobile casinos, while state lottery websites throughout the world host Keno games.

Australian and New Zealand have many keno draws each day, while states like New Jersey, Connecticut, and Massachusetts in the United States have Keno drawings. Note: In Australia and New Zealand, they’re called “draws”, but in the United States, they’re called “drawings”.

Are There Any Keno Variants?

Yes, you’ll find dozens of real money online keno variations, depending on the software supplies to online and mobile casinos. Ignition Casino has Keno and Keno Draw, an updated version of the game. Sites like Platinum Play, Royal Vegas, and 7 Sultans have a wide variety of keno variants in their parlour games or “Other Games” categories.

These include Power Keno, Super Keno, Jumbo Progressive Keno, Cleopatra Keno, Caveman Plus Keno, and Triple Trouble Keno.

Does Live Dealer Keno Exist Online?

Yes, live dealer keno is played in a few live casinos. Ezugi Gaming provides live dealer keno to its license holders. Online casinos like LeoVegas, Unibet, Netbet, GDAY Live, and 1xBet use Ezugi software.

How Often Can I Play Keno?

Online lottery companies in Australia & New Zealand have online drawings. Most online and mobile casinos have a Keno gaming in the “Specialty Games” category of their website. If you can’t find Keno in an online casino, check the arcade games section and, failing that, the table games section.