Play Real Money Keno

Real money keno is a lottery style game played in land-based casinos in one of two major formats: live and video keno. Terminals can be placed to allow electronic gaming for real money in local gambling spots. Internet casinos universally offer the game, because it provides such a high house edge. Most gambling experts are going to analyze keno, but they aren’t going to play it. Over the course of this article, I’ll explain why. Before I get into the gritty details, let me give an overview of the game. If you’re planning on gambling on keno, take a rational look at the information I’m going to provide.

Top 3 Keno Casinos

Top sites ranked by 10 years of experience
Bovada Casino Casino


Exclusive Bonus

100% UP TO


Players Accepted
Vegas Casino Online Casino


Exclusive Bonus

100% UP TO

$ 11000

Players Accepted
Lincoln Casino Casino


100% up to


Players Accepted

Chinese Lottery

Online KenoPeople often compare real money keno to American bingo, but the game plays much more like the lottery. In fact, many people call it the “Chinese lottery”. It’s said to have been used by an ancient Chinese emperor to have funded construction of the Great Wall of China, but that’s a myth. In truth, the game was invented in and around Macau in the 1840’s or a little earlier. Chinese immigrants who worked on the transcontinental railway system brought the game to America in the 1860’s.

American casinos added it to their games list, where they Americanized the Chinese name, and it became a staple in US casinos ever since. When the Internet became a pop culture phenomenon and casinos were built for computer gaming, online keno for real money became a game option on most software platforms.

Keno in Macau

Meanwhile, the game was developing a smaller following back in mainland China. Macau or Macao was a Portuguese colony in the 19th century and most of the 20th century. In 1961, Portugal’s officials allowed local Chinese investors to begin building casinos in the city–what they call “fantan houses” or gambling houses. When Macau reverted to Chinese authority in 1997, it was set to become China’s gambling capital. Now Macau handles the most gambling action of any city on Earth each year. Keno is a huge part of that action.

Filling in Keno formIf you’ve never seen casino gaming played in a Chinese casino (or with crowd of Asians), you should experience it sometime. In a game such as baccarat, the gamblers prefer to hang back and get a sense of how the game is flowing. Due to the influences of the Taoist concept of qi or chi (“energy flow”), “flow” is a major belief in Chinese culture. Asian gamblers sometimes take that another step to mean the ebb and flow of gambling fortunes, so they prefer to stand back and watch the trends in a game like baccarat. Some do the same for keno. To western gaming mathematicians, all of that sounds like utter nonsense, of course. If you want to play keno in Macau, the Casino Lisboa owned by Stanley Ho is best known for offering the game in the Monte Carlo of China.

Real Money Keno

When you play real money keno, you’ll buy from 1 to 20 “spots”. Spots are like lottery numbers: when you own one, you win something if the number is drawn. Most keno drawings have the numbers 1 through 80, so you can buy up to 20 numbers. When the drawing happens, twenty numbers are drawn, but don’t expect to ever hit on 20 out of 20 numbers. The odds of that happening are approximately 1 in 3,500,000,000,000,000,000–yes, 3.5 quintillion.

No one in the recorded history of keno has ever caught 20 or 20 numbers, and no one is likely to do so in the next 100 years. The top jackpot on most drawings activates if you catch 15 of 20 numbers. Catching 10 numbers triggers a big payout, but even 3 or 4 catches is worth a respectable payout. For those wondering about the terminology I’m using, a “catch” is simply when one of your numbers is drawn.

Major Rule Differences

One major difference between keno and most forms of gambling is the bet is always lost. Even if you won on a 20-catch drawing, you would still lose the amount you wagered. Expect that money to be gone under any circumstances, and use that assumption to calculate your gaming expenditures.

Live Keno

The live version of the game is played using a crayon or marker and a piece of paper with the numbers 1 through 80 on it. A real money keno gambler marks their numbers and turns them in. Every few minutes, a new drawing happens and results are posted. As a general rule, the house edge for this game is among the worst in any casino, so I recommend anyone who wants to play this game should find a good live game of bingo and gamble on it.

Video Keno Terminals

Keno NumbersThe other major land-based option is video keno. This is played at a terminal. The terminal or kiosk has a pointer pen which is used to touch the numbers you want to play. Once you select your spots, click the button and results are shown on the screen. The house edge of this game is better than live keno, but the results happen dozens of times faster, so a player’s losses often are no better. If you want a game played at a video terminal with much better odds, try out video poker. Even if you don’t use optimal strategy, the odds are going to be much better.

Play Real Money Keno

I’m going to sound like a broken record here, but I want to be a responsible gambling expert when talking about these subjects, so let me reiterate the truth here. When it’s time to play for real money, I urge you to find the best pay schedule when playing. The only skill used in this game is the ability to find the best house edge.

I suggest playing the video keno instead of the live keno, because the video terminal version of the game has much better odds. Keep in mind that the video terminals produce results perhaps fifty times faster, which makes this just as bad of an option, if you choose to play at the fastest rate possible. Take your time and savor the game.

Online Keno Real Money

When it’s time to play online keno for real money, find the best odds on the Internet at that given time. Research is not going to be easy to do, because numbers posted on the Internet about payout percentages is often inaccurate. Online casinos have promotional offices and the people in the promotions offices put out press releases. These press releases often distort or cherry-pick statistics to make their company sound the best. Since online casinos have affiliates who read these press reports and later write about their chosen casino, they often repeat these findings. Most of these people aren’t trying to give misinformation, but they’re in an echo chamber of sorts. The point being, never take payout percentages posted online as the last word.

The reason I suggest you study online keno statistics, despite what I just said, is the money involved can be substantial. When you play keno online, the drawings happen often. If you play using a virtual keno simulator with a random number generator, the results happen even quicker. If you play a game with a high house edge, you’re likely to run through your bankroll quickly.

Keno Casinos Online

For that reason, I suggest you go with the brand names you’ve learned to trust and never use an untried company. Let them gain a reputation first. If you can’t find definitive information, go with the brand name products. If you’ve had good experiences with William Hill Online Casino, make that your place for online keno. If you feel like 888casino has been the most reliable provider over the years, use them for keno. If Bovada or some other RTG casino has provided good gaming and prompt payment for you in the past, then use the RealTime Gaming casino platform.

Specialty Games

When you go to an online casino’s games lobby, you’ll find keno placed in one of two categories. Often, it’s listed in the “Specialty Games” category (sometimes labelled “Arcade Games”). At other times, it’s placed the “Table Games” category. In other cases, the operator places the game in its own separate category. The point being, the game is going to be found on virtually any online or mobile casino site, but you might have to search for it a bit. Don’t give up, if that’s what you want to play.

Instant Keno

Keno AreaOn the Internet, a common way to play the game is using the “instant keno” format. In this style of play, the game plays out much like a spin on a slot machine or a video poker machine does. You pick your numbers, click a button, and results are there for you in a split second. Players devoted to their favorite numbers can save these settings, so you don’t have to select every single instant drawing. I recommend gamblers who play keno for real money this way to slow down a bit, because you can see a lot of action this way. If you are playing with a bad house edge, you could lose a lot of money, if you’re not careful. Auto-play features and saved settings are not always your friend in the online gambling industry.

In the United States

Not all American casinos offer keno. Some states have laws prohibiting certain types of games. Other have casinos which offer keno as well as any other casino game you can imagine. For example, Mississippi has a few casinos which offer keno, but you won’t find any actual keno parlors there like you would in Las Vegas. Missouri has a similar situation. Nebraska is a good example of a state without the game–their gambling is limited to the lottery and Class II slot machines. New Hampshire doesn’t have ANY kind of legal casino games available. New Mexico only has a single casino, the Sandia, which offers the game live.

Keno Questions and Answers

Keno is a game that’s gotten a bad rap over the years due to its high house edge. But thanks to video keno terminals and online keno, you have a much better chance to win with this lottery style game today.

Given the lower house edge in online keno, players are naturally curious about this version. That said, let’s discuss some of the most-common questions that players have regarding online keno.

  • Yes, there are many online casinos that offer real money keno to US players.

    In most cases, you’ll find keno in the “specialty games” section. You also find different backgrounds/setups offered, such as crazy keno, instant keno, 80-ball keno, and 90-ball keno.

  • Instant keno sees you pick your numbers, then click “Play.” Once you do this, the game will instantly draw numbers and determine if you’re a winner or loser.

    Some instant keno games allow you to save your numbers and use them over and over, which further speeds up the game.

  • Online keno isn’t as popular as slots or blackjack, so you won’t find it featured on the homepage, or even prominently displayed on the games page.

    But as mentioned before, you can normally find keno in the aforementioned specialty games section. If not found here, check the table games section.

  • Given that you can’t physically see balls being drawn in internet keno, it’s natural to worry if the games are fair.

    But as with all online casino games, keno employs a random number generator, meaning the results are completely randomly and fair.

  • Keno is a lottery style game with very little strategy involved. The main thing that you need to do is look for online casinos that give you the best chance of winning.

  • Beyond looking for the best odds, the only thing that you can do is focus on proper bankroll management. Don’t play too many cards within a short timespan while looking to recoup previous losses.

    Also, simply playing online keno over the land-based version is a good strategy in itself. After all, the online keno house edge is around 5%, while brick-and-mortar keno parlors may carry anywhere from a 15% to 40% house edge.

  • This all depends upon your individual preference. Do you value the lowest house edge possible? More rewards? A variety of keno games?

    Depending upon what’s most important to you, the best online keno casino will differ. Read reviews and/or check out different internet casinos yourself to see what they have to offer in the keno department.

  • Yes, any online casino that offers keno will also give you the option to play for free. Just click the game that you want and it’ll be available for play. Some casinos may require you to create an account first, but this doesn’t take very long.

  • The great thing about internet keno is that it’s really cheap to play. Some online casinos allow you to play each card for just one cent. This means that you could play 5 different cards for just $0.05, which is quite a bargain.

    But do note that if you’re playing a fast-paced game like instant keno, you should watch your bankroll due to how fast the action moves.

  • Nearly every online casino offers bonuses to keno players. In fact, you’ll often find keno lumped in with slots bonuses because they have roughly the same house edge.

    Read the terms and conditions carefully so that you know exactly what kind of wagering requirements you must meet to collect your bonus.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *