Keno – It’s More Than a Numbers Game

Few Casino and Lottery games are more popular than Keno. Keno games can be found within most of Canada’s online casinos and its regional lottery operators offers Keno games of some kind.

This underlines the general acceptance of Keno amongst gamblers who are doubtlessly attracted by its glorious simplicity, excitement and the potential for massive winnings.

Here’s a list of our recommended Keno featuring Online Casinos:

History of Keno

As with most gambling games which populate North American casinos the history of the game is less than clear.  Like ‘Poker’ the word ‘Keno’ has a French origin but unlike the card game, Keno is not traced back to European immigrants in New Orleans.

Instead it is widely believed Keno started life in China and arrived on North America’s west coast courtesy of an immigrant workforce (constructing the First Transcontinental Railroad) in the 1860’s.  Most certainly the game, using the Keno name, enjoyed widespread popularity in Houston, Texas, by 1866.

Rules of Keno

If you’re familiar with the workings of any lottery type game (or even Bingo) you are qualified to understand the ins-and-outs of Keno within minutes.

Like Lotto’s, Keno’s results come from numbered balls falling from a drum.  The drum has 80 balls in it at the outset numbered 1 to 80. As a player you need to select a number or numbers which will be drawn.  Typically, you can select between 1 and 20 numbers and your returns depend on how many correct predictions you make.

The odds of return, or ‘pay-scale’ (also known as ‘paytables’), is directly related to the number of drawn numbers that match all the numbers that have been selected by the player.

The more numbers chosen and the more the numbers which are successfully ‘hit’ results in a greater payout for the player.  The chances of successfully predicting all the 20 numbers with a ticket which has 20 predictions has been calculated to be in the ball-park of 1-in-3.5 quintillion!  Thankfully online casinos do not insist players make exactly 20 selections although some will limit the bet options to only 1 and up to 10, 12 and 15 numbers.

Unlike land-based casino and lottery style Keno, playing the game online is very hard to mess up!  Entries are completed by simple taps and ticks, in a ‘live’ scenario slips can easily be spoiled and ruined.

Odds in Keno

Keno is a game of total chance akin to Roulette.  However unlike Roulette the maximum potential winnings in a game of Keno online is considerably more than that games ceiling odds of 35/1. Resultantly the house edge with Keno odds is a lot more than the margins found in traditional casino table games such as Blackjack, Roulette and Craps.

Like those games the house edge depends totally on the bet type you place and as there are numerous types of bet on offer it is difficult give a definitive ‘house edge’ figure.  It is certainly between 20 and 40 per cent with the lowest margins on the least extravagant bets (and number of balls predicted).

Keno Strategy

Keno games are fired off every few minutes, so there is no sense of urgency.  You do not have to put all your hopes and money into one draw.

In fact, you can prolong the enjoyment of the game by playing for small stakes every draw. That’s not to say you need to set your sights low, predicting a substantial amount of the 20 drawn numbers may result in infrequent returns, but it will result in the occasional ‘big win’.

Most people will tell you Keno is a skill-less game of luck but we disagree.  The laws of probability apply to this game as much as any other and when factoring in certain percentages we think some Keno players will give themselves a better chance of winning than others.

Unlike Roulette, where one spin of the wheel is totally independent to the next (or last), every numbered ball drawn from the 80 in a round of Keno has a direct result on the next number to be drawn.  And this is because the law of averages dictates around half of the 20 drawn balls will be odd, 20 will be even. Likewise, 20 will be high and 20 will be low.

You see it is fact that the probability of a low numbered ball being drawn after a series of 19 previous low numbers being drawn is around 2/1 because only 21 of the 61 balls left in the drum will be numbered below 40.

Therein sensible Keno games players will try to keep their selections relatively even with an equal amount of high/low and odd/even selections, even taking five numbers from within each quarter (1-20, 21-40, 41-60, 61-80).

Keno Tips

Money Management is key to playing Keno; deciding on how much you want to wager on a game is a luxury you have.  The Keno games (and/or online casino) cannot dictate your stakes, only the Keno odds of reward.  Alas neither can determine the numbers which will be drawn!

Here’s a few more of our top Keno online tips:

  • Try to play online Keno for fun on free money games to get yourself a little bit accustomed to specific Keno games and variations
  • If you’re going to play Keno online do make sure to sign-up to an online casino which offers a really great Welcome Bonus.
  • Have a clear plan of what you want to achieve when playing for cash, be it a small win or major scoop.
  • Consider a Keno staking strategy to achieve your goals.
  • Do not see a sequence of numbers and repeatedly drawn numbers as a form-guide – every Keno ball draw is unique from the last.
  • Never be afraid to leave when winning and think about setting yourself time limits for your sessions.

Variations of Keno

Keno in its traditional form may well be just a lottery game but it has been ‘jazzed-up’ considerably in recent years and there are now untold variations of the game, all have been devised to enhance the player experience.

The selection is vast and with most online casinos offering something a little different to the next, it is well worth shopping around to find the Keno online game or variant that you like the most.


A fun game, gloriously simple to play, with the potential of big returns.  That’s the best way of describing Keno, the centuries old numbers game which has evolved with subtle variations on its old theme in recent years.

Online casinos have it cracked, offering quick-play options and more favourable returns for their players.  But the fact remains the Keno game requires no skill, just some common sense.  Therein players should not take it too seriously and primarily see Keno play as a form of entertainment with the chance of winning big.

Naturally winning is good, and like a prudent staking system, your chances of showing a profit can be boosted by taking advantage of a ‘New Player Welcome Offer’ or Keno bonus which will give first-time customers free funds to play with.

You can play Keno online right now with some of our recommended Keno casinos below:

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