Keno

There's a well known Las Vegas saying regarding Keno. It goes, "In case of an earthquake hitting Las Vegas, be sure to go straight to the keno lounge. Nothing ever gets hit there."

Hopefully that doesn't put you off too much but it's fair to say that keno isn't the most player friendly game going. Expected returns for the game are around 92% but it's the closest you'll get to lottery style games in a casino.

  • Expected returns for keno are around 92%.
  • It's similar to bingo and lottery with players selecting numbers in the hope that they will be drawn.
  • Despite poor odds, payouts can be as large as 10,000x or even hundreds of thousands when all your numbers are hit.

The silver lining is that keno often involves a significant jackpot for players who hit all of their numbers. These have been known to reach well into the hundreds of thousands with a London online casino player winning more than £125,000 in 2003 at InterCasino.

How to Play Keno

To play keno, select numbers from a selection of 1 – 80. Clicking on the numbers themselves will cause a mark to appear over the number. Once you've selected all of your numbers, 20 balls will be drawn.

Keno payouts are then determined by the number of your picks that are drawn. When this happens it's called a hit. The exact payouts are determined by the game variation and the casino itself. As with other casino games, these payouts are displayed on a paytable.

Fortune Keno Playtech's Fortune Keno game - another unsuccessful round.

Keno on the Internet

Keno lounges in Las Vegas have developed a bit of a reputation for not being the most popular place to go in a casino. In UK casinos, keno is simply not found so going online is your only chance to play it on our fair shores.

If you choose to, then you'll find very little difference when playing online keno to how you would in a land based casino. Obviously there is less interaction with casino staff and you don't have to move anywhere – which is always nice!

From Chinese to Casino Keno

Keno in Las Vegas in the 1970's A Las Vegas Keno Lounge in the 1970s.

Keno has a surprisingly long history. It goes all the way back to ancient China and even more surprisingly, we can pinpoint its creator as Cheung Leung.

When the game was originally created it used Chinese characters instead of the numbers that are used in online casino today. The amount of numbers was also reduced as it was feared that the game was too long when Chinese workers immigrated to the United States to take work on the railways.

The game was originally referred to as Chinese Lotto but changed to Race Horse Keno and later Keno by US casinos who wanted to make players feel as if they were at the races.

As we mentioned above, keno jackpots are no rare thing with some rather large ones having been won in the past. These have increased over the years as payout limits which once stopped the largest keno jackpots from rising were reduced and eventually scrapped.

In 1997 a casino in Columbus, Nebraska was the setting as John Eckholt won more than $350,000 with an eight spot keno ticket. This remained the largest keno jackpot ever won for some time.