Keno is a casual game that has been played in one form or another for more than two millennia. Today millions of Americans enjoy the thrill of catching a card full of numbers.
Beginning in ancient China, various versions of keno have been played continuously since 300 B.C., and the game has stood the test of time quite well. Keno came to America along with the Chinese immigration wave of the 1800s, and the game became an immediate hit.
Since gambling was legalized in Nevada in 1931, keno has been a mainstay of America’s gaming industry. Additional information on the history of keno can be found on our keno history page.
Similar to bingo and other lottery style games, Keno demands nothing more from players than the simple selection of numbers from a 1-80 grid. Players can opt to choose one spot on the card, 20 spots, or anywhere in between. In addition, way and combination bets allow players to select groups of numbers, whole rows and columns, or any assortment they can think of. After that, the luck of the draw takes over to determine who wins and who loses.
In keno a randomized process is used to select 20 numbers from the 80 possible, and players are paid out according to how many of their choices correspond with the 20 numbers drawn. The goal of the game is to catch all of the numbers on a ticket of course, but various payout tables exist to reward players for catching some (or even none) of their selections.
For the most part, catching about half of the numbers on your ticket will be good for a breakeven bet, which keeps you afloat while you try to overcome the odds and catch a full card. More information about the rules of keno can be found on our keno rules page.
Despite what you might hear, the name of the game when it comes to keno is pure chance, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a great time. The house edge for keno isn’t great at 30 percent on average, but when you’re wagering a few dollars at a time, the potential payouts actually offer pretty decent value. After all, you won’t find too many games out there where a $1 bet can result in a $25,000 or higher win. You can learn more about the basics on our keno strategy page.
Most players approach keno as a lark, something with which to enjoy an easy seat upon entering a casino. Firing $20 to play the same set of 6 or 8 numbers 20 times on a multi-race ticket doesn’t cost all that much, and after placing the wager, you’ll be able walk the gaming floor and partake in other games, all while keeping one eye on the omnipresent keno screens overhead.
Sure, the odds are against catching all of your numbers, but when you do overcome the 1 in 7,752 probability, the $1,480 payout on that $1 bet couldn’t be any sweeter. You’ll find a full rundown of how to play on our how to play keno page.
The keno lounge can also offer a sanctuary from the glaring lights and loud noises of the gaming floor. For gamblers that like to take it easy in a nice, quiet atmosphere, nothing beats the keno lounge for a more calm and collected trip to the casino.
Keno runners will attend to your tickets and return with an official betting slip, and they’ll even handle payouts for you upon request. Playing keno truly is an indulgent experience, a time for gamblers to take a break from the grind of blackjack or the swings of craps.