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What Makes Keno a Popular Casino Game?

Keno Logo With Keno Number

Ever notice a keno parlor at your favorite casino? Or maybe you’ve seen keno in the specialty games section of an online casino. And if you live in a state where the lottery offers keno, you may also be able to play at a bar.

On the surface, keno seems like a simple game. All you have to do is predict which numbers will appear in a draw. The format draws comparisons to the lottery, and it can be a chance for a huge payday.

There are many reasons why keno is such a popular casino game. It offers versatility and doesn’t cost much to play. The social experience that comes with playing keno makes it fun one try.

Understanding the Game

It helps to see how keno works when looking at what makes this casino game a favorite. Keno is a lottery-style game in which players choose numbers.

Here are the basics of keno in a few steps:

  1. A player will select the amount of money to spend on a draw.
  2. The player will then select a couple of numbers from 1 to 80. The player can select up to fifteen numbers at a time.
  3. Twenty numbers appear in the draw at random. Most keno games use a random number generator to dictate which numbers show. Others may use a traditional bingo or lottery wheel.
  4. The player will win if if they match the right numbers. The payouts will vary based on how many numbers that person chose. A player can earn more if they matches more or all of the numbers that they picked.

The game feels like a lottery draw as it is all about matching the numbers in a drawing. It’s always random, and players have unique strategies for how they pick numbers. But these are just a few of the reasons why keno is so popular.

A True Staple

While keno is not as popular as blackjack or roulette or other traditional casino games, it has been around long enough to have gained a following. Keno was first introduced in mid-nineteenth century. Lottery operators in the then-Portuguese colony of Macau operated keno games as early as the 1840s.

The game spread around throughout nearby China, where the first eighty characters of the Thousand Character Classic were utilized. The game spread to the United States later in the nineteenth century, as Chinese immigrants sailed to the country to build the first transcontinental railroad.

From there, keno would expand to become popular at various online casinos around the world.

Further Info:

Some state lotteries offer keno games as well. States like Massachusetts, Georgia, North Carolina, Kentucky, and others have keno games with drawings throughout the day.

The “keno” name comes from the French word “quine” and the Latin word “quini,” which both roughly translate to “five for each.”

A Versatile Game

One reason why people love keno is because of how versatile the game can be. You can choose anywhere from 1 to 15 numbers during a keno draw.

The paytable will vary based on how many numbers you pick. Let’s look at some examples of what you could get off of a draw worth $1. These totals are hypothetical and may vary by each gaming hall or website:

Starting small, if you choose a single number, you could win $3 off a $1 bet.

The amount you’ll earn will be greater if you put in more numbers. You can pick two numbers and win $15 if both of them are drawn. You’d also get $45 if you pick three numbers and all of them show.

You can also win even if you don’t get all your numbers, although you’d have to meet a minimum. You can pick five numbers and get $2 if you match three of them, $15 for matching four, or $850 if you get all five.

The totals increase when you pick even more. You could choose eight numbers and win anything from $10 when you match five to $30,000 when you match all eight.

The highest payout you could earn during an average keno game is $100,000. You’ll hit the jackpot if you pick ten or more numbers and match all of them.

You could even win if you don’t match anything. You could pick ten numbers and win $2 to $5 if you don’t match any of those picks.

The ability to win various amounts of money during a draw makes it an exciting game to play. Unlike in the lottery, you can choose how many numbers you pick.

A Fun Way to Play With Strategy

People enjoy keno because it allows them to play with various strategies. Players can utilize one of these strategies when playing keno:

They can use a Quick Pick feature that automatically chooses some numbers.

A player can manually choose the numbers. Some people have favorite numbers they like to use. Others will go for ones on specific spots on a keno board.

Many games offer hot and cold number listings that show which numbers are showing up the most and which ones aren’t appearing. Players often feel that some numbers are consistent while others are due. Keep in mind, though, that numbers are always drawn at random.

The strategies that people can use are part of what makes keno so popular. When playing keno, you can choose whichever strategy works for you.

Various Values and Auto-Play Features Available

People don’t need to spend much to play keno and they can use the same numbers for multiple rounds at a time. You could spend as little as a penny on some draws. The payouts will drop when you spend less money, but you’ll have the opportunity to play more rounds.

You can also select how many consecutive rounds you want to use the same number. You could fill in a ticket at a casino and then come back later to see how the draws went.


In most cases, a draw at a physical casino occurs every four to five minutes, so it could take a while to get results.

At an online casino, you can use an automatic draw feature that uses your numbers for a specific number of rounds. You can watch on the screen as each draw goes forward. You could also stop the drawings if you feel your numbers aren’t as lucky as you were hoping.

A Relaxing Game

Gamblers have enjoyed playing keno for centuries. It’s a relaxing game that people can play at their own pace. They can wait for a draw every few minutes at a physical casino, or they can trigger a draw when they see fit while playing online keno.

Keno has become popular for being a social game. You can enjoy playing keno while at a bar or other public place. Players can compare numbers with each other and see who’s getting the best results on a draw. The ability to play for money adds to the excitement.

Keno is also great for people who want to play a game without a lot of pressure. Many traditional table games might be too stressful for some players, particularly because of how fast they move and how much money players must spend to play them. Keno provides a more controlled experience that people might feel more comfortable with.

If you’ve ever passed by a keno parlor in your favorite casino in favor of other games, it might be time to rethink that decision. The thrill of the game and its general versatility make it great for any type of player. Take a look at keno the next time you’re looking for a new casino game to play. You may find it to be a relaxing and enjoyable pastime.