No need to head to your neighborhood pub to play a round of Keno. At Bovada's online casino, you can play the Keno game online, making it possible to play this timeless lottery game from the comfort of home—or on the go using your smartphone. The Keno game is meant to be enjoyed when you’re feeling lucky, which is why it’s important to be able to access it at the drop of a hat. Online casino Keno game play has all the real game play that a regular casino would have.

Once you know how to play online or live, you’ll appreciate the speed of the Keno game. It’s one of the few casino games that is just as enjoyable (if not more) when played on Auto compared to manual play. To help you become an online Keno game expert, we’ve put together this online casino Keno guide, which explains how to play Keno and covers some of the common playing strategies people use for it. We also discuss how Keno players weigh risk vs. reward in terms of number probability and real money payout, and we conclude things with advice on how to maximize your bankroll. But before diving into the meat of this online casino specialty games guide, we’ll go back in time to see how a simple lottery game helped end the Han Dynasty War in ancient China.

What is KENO? 

We want to learn to play Keno, but we must know its origins first. It’s a bit tricky, however, because Keno’s history weaves between fact and legend, which only increases the allure of this fascinating game. We’ll start with what we know. Keno came about during the Chinese Han Dynasty, more specifically, during the Cheung Leung period, which means the game is approximately 3,000 years old—far older than the other games available in modern-day casinos. The ruler was struggling through the Han Dynasty War and needed funds to acquire the resources required to end the war. Cheung Leung thus invented a form of lottery (now known as Keno) that used the first 120 characters of the Thousand Character Classic. The money generated was great enough to provide Cheung Leung with sufficient resources to overthrow the enemy and end the war.

Keno continued to be a popular game to play throughout China, and the profit generated was likely used in future projects too. One of the most commonly cited uses of Keno funds was for the Great Wall of China. While it’s unlikely that Keno money prompted the building of the Wall, which predates the Chinese Han Dynasty, there’s no doubt that renovations and newer sections of it were funded partially with Keno real playing money—at least during the Han Dynasty.

Keno broke out from China and made its way to North America when Chinese laborers immigrated here to work on the Transcontinental Railway in the mid 19th century. It was initially referred to by North Americans as the Chinese Lottery, but by 1866, the name Keno arose, which translates to five winning numbers in Latin and French. The game was transformed, as the pool of 120 Chinese characters were replaced with 80 numbers, making it more accessible to the American public to play for real money.  

Keno continues to be a very popular game to play in North America today and is one of the few games that’s played in bars in addition to casinos. Of course, you can also play it online right here at Bovada's online casino without having to leave home. 

KENO: The Online Game for Lotto Lovers

Lottery lovers flock to the Keno game and it’s no wonder why; with game payouts reaching up to a quarter million in our online casino, this lotto-style game is similar (and as volatile) as buying lottery tickets. You won’t find these mega payouts in the rest of our casino games.

Playing a round of Keno online begins with choosing how much you want to bet and for how many rounds. In Keno Draw online game, you can bet $0.01, $0.25, $1, $5 and $10 for 1, 5, 10, 25 or 20 rounds. Then you choose up to 15 numbers from a pool of 80. You can select them manually, or use the “Quick Pick” option just as you would when buying a regular lottery ticket. There is also an online feature called My Numbers that records your favorite numbers for quick access. 

Once you’ve selected your numbers, the play benefit of Keno over a standard lottery becomes quite evident, as you don’t need to wait for the lottery results to be formally announced. Instead, you click “GO” and the 20 winning numbers are drawn. You’re paid based on the number of “catches” you get. 

Popular KENO Strategies: Sequential Numbers, Cold Numbers, Hot Numbers

Keno is a luck-based casino game, but that doesn’t stop people from trying to employ different play strategies to boost their real money wins. One popular casino play strategy is to bet on sequences of numbers, such as 7,8,9 or 63,64,65 to cast a wider net for potential wins. Another is to look for cold or hot numbers by recording the winning numbers over a long period of time and seeing if certain numbers are drawn more or less frequently. While every number has the same mathematical probability of being drawn as the next, you can certainly feel free to use any approach that appeals to you. It’s part of the fun.

The Perks of Max Betting

The max real money payout that you can win playing Keno Draw in our online casino is $250,000, but to win the max, you need to bet max. And generally, as you pick more numbers and bet bigger, you’ll increase your real money payout potential.

Unlike most of our online casino slots and video poker games, there’s no “Bet Max” button with Keno. Players need to manually adjust the betting amount by opening the “$” sign on the game screen for Bets/Rounds. This opens the betting configurations, which lets players choose between five bet sizes, all the way up to $10, and select the number of rounds players want to play (up to 50 rounds). 

KENO Risk vs. Keno Reward

With our two online casino game versions of Keno, players can choose anywhere from 1 to 15 numbers to play, and the odds of hitting depends on how many numbers the players have selected to play. In the chart below, you’ll see the probability for landing 0-15 catches on a 15-spot card. 

Matches Probability
0 0.00801614417729
1 0.05227920115624
2 0.14793901603787
3 0.24040090106153
4 0.25021318273752
5 0.17615008064721
6 0.08634807874863
7 0.02988971956683
8 0.00733144064846
9 0.00126716258121
10 0.00015205950974
11 0.00001234249267
12 0.00000064960487
13 0.00000002067707
14 0.00000000035045
15 0.00000000000233

 

 

When you bet on the full 15 numbers possible to play, online payouts are awarded for 0 catches, and for 7 and above, skipping the high-probability range of 1-6. If you want to get paid for that sweet spot, you can go for five numbers instead of 15, and you’d be paid for 3, 4 and 5 catches. But of course, as you decrease the numbers, you also decrease the payout ceiling. Like all casino games, the biggest real money payouts are always reserved for the riskiest bets. Let’s see how the online casino payouts compare (based on $0.25 default bets) when you take five spots vs. 10 spots. 

Five-Spot Card
Hits Payout
0 N/A
1 N/A
2 N/A
3 $0.50
4 $3.75
5 $212.50

10-Spot Card
Hits Payout
0 N/A
1 N/A
2 N/A
3 N/A
4 N/A
5 $0.50
6 $6.50
7 $45
8 $300
9 $2,500
10 $25,000

As you can see, landing five catches on a 5-spot card pays significantly more than landing five catches on a 10-spot card, but then you don’t get the potential of winning serious money with the 5-spot card, like $25,000. You’ll have to decide how you want to balance risk with reward when choosing the number of spots to bet.

Be Smart with your KENO Bankroll

Keno is one of the most volatile games in the casino, so it’s important to go into a session with a bankroll budget in mind. Before starting, determine how much real money you want to dedicate to your online casino Keno session, and then divide that amount by the number of rounds you want to play, or the amount of money you want to wager per casino round. If you want to stretch out your online casino Keno play, go for more casino rounds with a smaller betting unit. For example, if you have $100 to use for Keno, and you want a long session, you could go for 100 rounds, giving you $1 betting units. Alternatively, if your casino preference is to maximize your real money payout ceiling, you can take that $100 and divide it by $10 units for 10 rounds of seriously exhilarating play. Whatever your approach, bear in mind that respecting your betting limits will ensure you always have more bankroll for future Keno sessions.

To get started with online Keno, look for the Play Specialty Games section of our online casino; you’ll see two game play options: Keno Draw and Keno. For the vintage online casino play experience that’s essentially a throwback to the Keno machines you’d find in retro Vegas lounges, go for Keno. Keno Draw, on the other hand, is better suited for those who want a smooth and intuitive user play experience that’s just as easy to play on a smartphone as it is on a computer. Good luck with the game draw, and we hope that Keno makes it onto your “Most Played” casino game list.