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With its many similarities to local lotteries and a name with French origins, it is hard to believe that today's online keno games are rooted in an ancient Chinese sonnet.
According to gaming historians, the game we know as keno was played throughout Asia and was known as “white dove ticket” or “pigeon ticket”. This name was based on the fact that to get the results of national keno games to outlying villages, the winning numbers were sent via carrier pigeons.
According to some stories, the game was popularised to raise funds to defend China from invaders. Legend has it that general Cheung Leung had keno developed to get the local populace to fund The Great Wall of China without them knowing it. The original game is said to have used the poem's first 80 to 120 characters to teach children how to read and write, known as the "Thousand Character Classic".
It was only once the game made its way across the Pacific to the United States that the characters were exchanged for numbers to make it easier for foreign players to participate. Given its origins, keno was initially known as the "Chinese Lottery", a term that was dropped in favour of "Horse Race Keno".
The name Horse Race Keno was used to help players understand the game, given they did not share the Chinese understanding of its origins. Players were encouraged to see each number as a horse in a race, and they had to pick which “horses” they believed would win. The casino game’s name was eventually shortened to “Keno” to avoid the taxes that the local government began to levy on “off-track horse races”.
With its popularity in Las Vegas and simple game mechanics, keno was amongst the first games to be developed for the burgeoning online casino industry in the mid-90s. Along with games like blackjack, roulette and video poker, online keno was at the forefront of the digital gambling revolution.
Keno is a game of chance, meaning there is no guaranteed way to win every game. There are specific strategies which can optimise your chances of having the probabilities of the game work in your favour.
· Always choose keno variants with the highest RTP%.
· Understand the odds of hitting a series of correct numbers and play the middle band
· Play with an odds chart on hand to best understand the chances of winning
· Play the same set of numbers each time
· Set small bet limits to increase your number of games
· Ignore strategies like Martingale as they quickly become costly
While none of these strategies guarantees a winning outcome, they will ensure that you maximise the playtime of your budget and make the most of the game’s odds.
Given how similar online keno is to the lottery, its rules are straightforward to remember. Here are the basics you need to remember to get started.
- Every game of online keno is based on a card of 80 numbers.
- Players must select between 1 and 20 numbers (also known as spots) which they believe will appear in this game.
- Your bet value is multiplied by the number of spots you choose. Choosing ten spots with a stake value of €1 will cost you €10.
- Choosing more spots increases your payout potential but lowers your chances of winning a jackpot.
- Adding any optional side bets will increase your overall wager. Wins or losses from these side bets are not tied to your primary keno selection results.
- Clicking the “Draw” button will result in 20 keno spots being selected. All wins and losses will be calculated accordingly.
- You can then select to pick the same numbers or choose new ones before playing again.
The online casino random number generator (RNG) determines all wins and losses. The results of each keno game are therefore arbitrary and do not rely on the previous outcomes. Any tables that show hot or cold numbers are merely a distraction and can be ignored.
Differences between Keno games and Bingo games
While it might seem at first glance that bingo and keno games are synonymous. This incorrect assumption is based on the fact that both games rely on randomly drawn numbers and number cards which showcase wins and losses.
The main difference between keno and bingo, however, is player agency. In bingo, each card you buy comes with a predetermined set of numbers. Based on the bingo balls drawn, any of these cards could win or lose. In keno, players decide which numbers they want to play, giving them complete control over their gaming environment. Many players use this authority to play the same numbers each time, as changing them has no statistical benefit.
Keno also allows more control over one's budget as you place a wager per number and then determine how many numbers you want to play. Since some keno games payout with as few as two matching numbers, that would be the minimum bet required to play. Bingo cards each come with a set cost and require the purchase of additional cards to have more than one winning chance.
Bingo does offer the benefit of more ways to win than just hitting a jackpot number sequence. With the addition of special events such as diagonals, four corners, top line, bottom line, centre line and other winning patterns, players can win prizes without landing 'bingo'. However, all keno wins and losses depend exclusively on your selected numbers.
There is also a statistical advantage to playing some forms of bingo versus keno. Keno is always played with 80 balls. Given that there is a 75-ball Bingo variant, along with the inclusion of particular winning patterns, the odds of winning a game of bingo are slightly higher than those offered by online keno.
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If you are new to online keno, here are five tips to get you started the right way:
Always play keno at licensed casinos
The best way to get comfortable with any new casino game is to play it in a safe and trustworthy environment. We recommend gambling at licensed casinos to take advantage of their fair results, great keno bonuses and helpful customer service agents.
Find the keno variant that suits your playstyle.
While keno has a reasonably basic rule set, there are several variations with minor changes, additional jackpots, and new features. Take the time to read up on these variants and select those that resonate with you.
Learn to play keno at demo tables
Once you have selected the keno games, you want to learn to play the demo versions of those games to learn the rules. These free-to-play keno games offer the same payouts, odds and features without the chance to lose real money. These fun-play machines are the best way to learn the game without risking your bankroll.
Memories keno odds and payouts
Each casino will have a payout table for the keno games they offer. These tables will show you the odds of landing specific volumes of winning numbers. Please get to know these probabilities and playtest them to find the balance that suits your risk-to-reward preferences.
Claim your keno casino bonus
Once you are comfortable with how online keno is played, you can try playing for real money. To boost your bankroll and increase the number of games you can play, always claim any keno bonuses and promotions the casino offers.
Keno Game Types
Before each game of Caveman Keno, three numbers are chosen at random. Once the player has chosen their spots, the game will draw its 20 numbers. If two or more of the three random numbers appear in the selection of 20 numbers, the player is awarded a win multiplier.
Cleopatra Keno is one of the few keno games that offer bonus games as a reward. If the last ball drawn is part of the player-selected spots, they are awarded 12 free games at the current bet level!
This rare keno variant is played with only 40 balls instead of the traditional 80. However, the game features a randomly selected "star" ball to make things more exciting. The payout is doubled when this ball is part of a player's selection.
Power Keno offers players the chance to 4x their winnings. To achieve this fantastic result, the last of the 20 balls drawn by the game must be part of the players winning selection.
Fire Power Keno
Fire Power Keno also offers players a chance to quadruple their winnings. However, in this game version, the player must have selected the first 20 numbers to drop as part of their winning selection.
Superball Keno offers the same rules as traditional keno with one exception, the chance to trigger a progressive jackpot. To be eligible to win the progressive jackpot, you must play a minimum of seven spots, and all of them must appear on the screen in that game.
Video keno is a lottery-style game where players get to select up to 20 spots on an 80-number card. The casino then randomly selects 20 winning numbers. The more matching numbers the player has chosen, the higher their payout.
Live Keno follows the same rules are video keno. However, rather than having the 20 winning numbers selected by a machine, a live dealer will draw them much like in a national lottery draw.
FAQWhat is online keno?
Online keno is a lottery-style casino game where you can choose numbers ranging from 1 to 80 on a card up to a maximum of 20. The more numbers you correctly select, the higher your payout for that game.Are online keno games fair?
We always recommend playing online keno at a licensed and regulated online casino to ensure that the outcome of each game is fair and trustworthy.Can I win real money playing online keno?
Yes, you can win real money playing online keno. All the casinos on this page offer real money keno and keno-friendly bonuses.Can I play keno on my mobile?
Our recommended keno casinos are optimised for all leading mobile operating systems. You can enjoy keno on your Apple, Android, and Windows-powered mobile devices.Is it legal to play keno online for money?
The keno games on our site are all licensed and regulated. However, we recommend confirming that it is legal for you to gamble online where you live.How do I win a game of keno?
To win at keno, you must correctly predict two or more numbers out of the 20 that the casino will draw. The more numbers you guess correctly, the higher your payout will be.Can I get a casino bonus to play online keno?
Yes. All the casinos we list on this page are keno-friendly and offer bonuses and promotions that keno players can enjoy.How old do I have to be to play keno online?
Most online casinos require players to be 18 years old to open an account. It is recommended to check the local online gambling age for your country.What do I need to play online keno?
All you need to play online keno is a stable internet connection, a real money casino account and a pc or mobile device to access the casino.Is there a trick to winning keno?
Keno is a game of chance where the casino’s random number generator determines the outcome of each game, independent of every other game. This fact means no strategy or pattern can guarantee a winning outcome.