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Keno lottery games overview

What is Keno?

Keno is a popular game of chance that can be played at most lotteries. It is very similar to Bingo in terms of gameplay mechanics. There are different variations of lottery Keno available depending on your jurisdiction.

How to play Keno

First, the player selects a series of numbers that lie between 1 and 80. Depending on the game type, the numbers may vary.

Usually, a player selects up to 15 numbers. Once players confirm their wagers, 20 numbers are randomly drawn using either a physical ball machine, similar to the one used for bingo, or a random number generator. Players can watch these draws live.

Payouts are detailed in a pay table and vary depending on who’s offering the game. A player will earn their winnings depending on how many numbers they choose, how many of their chosen numbers are drawn, and the size of their stake. The house edge for Keno games is usually greater than it is for other games.

More and more lotteries are embracing Keno as one of their go-to draw games. Many players prefer Keno because a new draw takes place every few minutes, allowing them to regularly get their fix.

There are additional options you can select when placing your Keno wager. For example, you can choose to utilize the Keno Multiplier. This optional feature multiplies your wager and causes any subsequent winnings to be multiplied by x2, x3, x4, x5 or x10. The size of this multiplier is determined randomly ahead of the main Keno draw.

Certain states now allow online Keno, whereas others require players to play at a registered lottery retailer or utilize a touchscreen vending machine.

Generally, a player can spend $1, $2, $3, $4, $5, $10, or $20 on each ticket.

Probabilities for Keno games

Probabilities vary depending on the specific keno game, as well as how many numbers you decide to wager on. The following example assumes you have chosen 10 numbers and are playing the Pennsylvania State Lottery Keno game.

MatchPrizeProbability (one in)
10$100,0008,911,711
9$5,000163,381
8$5007,385
7$50620.7
6$1587.1
5$219.4

Under these specific conditions, the overall probability of winning is 1 in 9.1.

How much can you win with Keno games?

Prizes vary depending on the keno game as well as how many numbers you wager on. Generally, wagering on ten numbers can give you the chance to win upwards of $300,000. However, players are far more likely to score a $1-$10 win.

Where can you play Keno lottery games online?

You can play online lottery Keno in any state with a fully functional online lottery platform. This currently includes:

History of Keno

Keno first originated in China. Legend has it that the game’s creation helped save an ancient city in the midst of war. Keno became so popular that its revenues helped fund the construction of the Great Wall of China.

The first documentation of a lottery in China was in 1847 when the Macau government issued a license for lottery operators. This was at a time in China when lotteries were not accepted as a means of fundraising for the creation of public institutions.

It is believed that when Keno was played in major Chinese cities in the 19th century, the results were issued to surrounding hamlets and villages through carrier pigeons.

It was through Chinese immigrants traveling West that the game began to spread. Keno was a hit in Houston, Texas by 1886 after Chinese immigrants had sailed the Pacific Ocean to aid in the building of the first Transcontinental Railroad. Since then, Keno has become popular all across North America, with most casinos and state lotteries offering some version of Keno to their players.