Playing Keno Online For Real Money

Keno has been enjoyed for thousands of years now. It’s a simple game, but it is more involving and fun than bingo or the lottery, and still has wide appeal. Keno used to be available only in casinos, but now lotteries often offer it as well. You still need to wait for the periodic draws, like a lottery, but online keno has changed all that. Let us show you just how much online keno has improved the game of keno.

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Online Keno Overview

Keno is a lottery-style game that goes back all the way to ancient China, and has evolved into a lottery drawing just for you anytime you want one with the emergence of online keno. Keno is a very simple game, where you select numbers on a ticket and win various amounts of money depending on how many of your numbers are drawn.

There isn’t all that much to learn to be able to play keno, as all it takes is the ability to mark a keno card or to select your choices on an online card with a mouse. People aren’t going to go our of their way to choose land-based casinos to play at based upon their keno offerings, as keno is more like an afterthought, but if you are looking to play online, some players do take keno into account and may choose an online casino just for their keno play if it measures up.

We may not think that we need any advice when it comes to playing keno, but if you are going to play a game, it’s good to have an idea about how a particular keno game stacks up, to pay attention to how friendly or not friendly a particular keno game is, to get the most out of your keno play.

Keno History

Online Keno Real MoneyThe game of keno, like a lot of gambling games, originated in ancient China, during the Han dynasty, originally called baige piao, which translates to white dove ticket in English. The name came from the use of carrier pigeons to communicate the results of draws from Chinese cities to rural areas, a common practice in the early days of the game.

The Chinese were a few millennia ahead of the Western world in their tolerance of gambling, free from the religious beliefs that gambling was evil in some way. Keno is a lottery game, and the idea that states could benefit financially from running lotteries is a very new one in the West but a very old one in the East. Keno not only is lottery-like, it was the precursor of today’s lotteries, devised to first help pay for the Han Dynasty war, and later, to help pay to build the Great Wall of China.

The original keno, baige piao, consisted of the first 120 characters in the Chinese alphabet, which later became reduced to just the first 80 characters for simplicity. Keno is still played with these Chinese characters, but as the game spread, not being able to read Chinese became a limitation, whereby these characters became replaced by numbers from 1-80.

Keno playing continued on in China, and eventually, in the 19th century, things got more organized and Chinese lotteries became licensed and regulated, which people had to submit to in order to offer it legally. Around this time the game emerged in the United States, being brought over by Chinese immigrants who originally played it among themselves, but as the word got out, it started to attract interest among the non-Chinese community as well.

This is when the game evolved into using numbers and making the game understandable to Americans. Lotteries were not legal at the time, and governments saw keno as a lottery game, so Las Vegas gaming operators eventually got the idea to call it “racing keno,” to try to disguise its being a lottery game and therefore be legal to offer to the public, even though the disguise was a pretty thin one.

Instead of Chinese characters, or numbers, and numbers was the particularly damning aspect that had the game perceived as a lottery, the 80 keno numbers were represented by different horses and they called the drawing a horse race.

Now that lotteries are legal, we have dispensed with this pretense, even though there are still remnants of racing keno that still linger for its marketing value, still calling it a “race.” Many lotteries have added the game of keno to their offerings, and keno is a popular game at modern casinos, offered as a side dish to those who gamble at other games offered in casinos.

Keno has since spread around the world and has also grown to become popular at online casinos as well, which have taken keno to a whole new dimension where you no longer have to wait for a draw and can play it on demand as you can with other real money online casino games.

Keno In Other Countries

Keno online valendo dinheiro no BrasilKeno med rigtige penge online i Danmark
Oikean rahan nettikeno SuomessaLe Keno en ligne en argent réel en France
Echtgeld Online Keno in DeutschlandKeno Online con Soldi Veri in Italia
Ekte penger online keno i NorgeKeno Online com Dinheiro Real em Portugal
Keno online de dinero real en EspañaOnline Keno med Riktiga Pengar i Sverige
香港/亞洲真錢線上基諾Online Keno voor echt geld in Nederland
Igazi pénzes online kenó MagyarországonKeno Online za Prawdziwe Pieniądze w Polsce
Online Κίνο Με Πραγματικά Χρήματα στην Ελλάδα日本のリアルマネーオンラインキノ

Playing Real Money Keno

To play real money keno, players typically select between 1 and 20 numbers depending on the rules of the particular game of keno that you seek to play, and keno is far from standardized and is brewed up at the casino level where they have the ability to set the rules and payout tables to suit their own particular preferences as well as the preferences of the market.

Some casinos limit the number of picks that players can make to 15, to limit the size of the jackpots that are paid out to make them manageable. No one has ever hit 20 out of 20 in a keno game, that’s how rare it would be. The chances of hitting 15 is already 1 in 41 billion, and beyond this, you really get beyond the stratosphere, where 20 involves adding 11 more zeros, events far too improbable to ever want to bother with.

20 out of the 80 numbers are drawn, and depending on how many numbers you chose and how many of your numbers get drawn, various amounts of money are paid out. Casinos love keno because the house edge is considerably higher than with other games that they offer, and this is how they can afford to send runners around the casino to drum up business from people playing other games.

Since keno is indeed a lottery-style game, this is not a captive game like anything else casinos offer. Land-based keno requires drawings at various intervals, and people are not going to want to sit for hours in a keno area waiting for drawings to occur to see if they won, no more than people would ever want to hang around a lottery booth. Some land based casinos do offer keno on demand by way of terminals, but most of the keno wagering is done while wagering on something else.

Keno draws occur far more often than lottery draws do, but not often enough to be offered as a table game, at least without sufficient interest. Such a thing could be set up, with computer generated results, at a table where players sit around and play keno, but we can presume that either keno just does not generate enough excitement at the stakes that would need to be offered to make this make sense for the casino to use extra floor space for, and the interest for this just isn’t there.

The real limiting factor of this is that if keno games were offered with higher minimum stakes, as would be required to make table game keno work, those who would be willing to wager this much may not want to do so, just like people don’t usually stake high amounts on other lottery games. The higher the stakes, the more people will pay attention to the odds and the house edge, and the house edge with keno is nicely high for the casinos and not so player friendly, although not to the point of being a deterrent in its present form at least.

Why People Play Keno

Just like you might pick up a lottery ticket for a buck or two and not really need to worry about expected value, where the cost is so low that the entertainment value derived can still make sense, placing much larger bets will serve to make you more aware of these things and force a more critical evaluation. This is especially the case in a casino where the house edge with keno can be as high as 35%, as opposed to table games that offer a house edge of under 1%.

The house edge with lotteries is even higher though, yet a lot of people buy lottery tickets, so this cannot be about expected value at all. Some have called lotteries a tax on stupidity, but that in itself involves stupidity, as lotteries are not about minimizing your negative expected value, and if it was, it would be stupid to play both lotteries and casino games.

Such a view would limit sensible gambling to playing poker or sports betting at a high enough skill level to enjoy an advantage, otherwise it would be irrational to gamble. This ignores the potential psychological benefits of gambling, and for as little as $1, people can buy themselves an entitlement to dream. Keno has the potential for much bigger payouts than any other casino game, so keno lets people dream as big as they wish, which does have a monetary value, and it is this value that gets expressed in their willingness to accept even a significant numerical disadvantage over time as keno involves.

The problem that we run into with gambling is with those who have a distorted view of the value of competing goods and will then be prone to overspend on gambling. Gambling does take food off of the table for some problem gamblers, but no more so than any discretionary spending that unduly limits our access to spending that needs to be more prioritized, spending on needs rather than wants.

The threshold for very low priced gambling games like keno and lottery tickets is low, and if you tell someone that the government takes half of the expected value of your bet for themselves, they might be bothered if they are staking $1000 but generally not at all when only $1 is spent, where they may be giving up 50 cents in equity but get a lot more than that back in psychological benefits, the entertainment value of the experience. This is a big reason why keno is so popular in spite of its diminished equity over other casino games.

Keno is Actually Rolled Out In Casinos Pretty Efficiently

Aside from the level of monetary commitment per ticket, the frequency of the betting also plays a role in how desirable certain types of gambling are. Slot machines are high frequency but they do allow for very small bets to be made. If slots had house edges anywhere near as high as keno does, this greater disadvantage to the player would become pretty transparent quickly, where you had to keep feeding the machines at a high rate without much coming back out.

Slots are designed to take this effect well in mind, and when they aren’t, they don’t produce the entertainment value that players require to want to keep playing them, and they will just stop playing them. If, on the other hand, you were just placing a few of these bets per day, as is the case with land based real money casino keno, people will be far less concerned with their getting back considerably less than they staked over time, especially those who are hoping for a big score.

Casinos will often have a central location that hosts their keno action, where they may get some walk-in business, but casinos have wisely sent their staff out to the casino floor in general to take keno bets. This has players not only having the ability to keep their monetary investments in these tickets small, they also can only invest a small amount of their time as well, in contrast to the time investment being much more substantial with other games.

Keno is simply not an engaging game though compared to playing real money blackjack, craps, roulette, baccarat, casino poker, slots, and so on, and it’s just hard to get the actual drawing of lottery numbers very engaging. They might draw lottery numbers on TV by showing balls coming out of machines one at a time, but there’s only so much you can do with a game like this, although none of this needs to take place under view and just seeing the results displayed is enough and is the whole deal in fact.

Land-based casino keno operates like a numbers runner on the street might, where they come to you, take your bets, and then return if you get lucky to pay you out. This has worked out very well for both players and operators in spite of the illegality involved and keno running works even better than numbers running because the customer base is so close at hand and are folks who are quite open to gambling since they are engaged in it anyway.

Casinos don’t make a lot of money from keno, but it does add to their win without having to compete with their more profitable offerings such as slots and table games. If they can add to the overall entertainment value of their casino experience, which keno definitely does, this can have a residual effect on their other revenues, where the happier players are, the more they spend overall.

Keno also allows for much flexibility as far as how players want to play it, to shoot for more frequent but smaller wins, shoot for huge jackpots, and everything in between. The thought of having the opportunity to have a huge win is what a lot of players find so appealing about slots, and keno at a land based casino is a little like a side of slots served up to you right at your station or table by a waiter.

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Real Money Online Keno

While there are quite a few people that enjoy playing real money keno online, it is nowhere near as popular as other online casino games. In the land-based world, the amount of interest is a limiting factor with what casinos offer, because it costs real money to pay for floor space and staff. Online casinos have eliminated this restriction since they can offer up a game even if only one person on the site wants to play it.

Some land-based casinos have video keno for instance, but every machine in a land-based casino needs to earn its keep and be played enough. On the other hand, if there are only a few terminals and people are already playing them, you can miss out that way as well.

Online casino gambling has the advantage of eliminating the element of space, turning any device that is connected to the internet into a video keno terminal, or any other sort of terminal you desire, where you can be there or go to another area of the casino in a flash.

Given the opportunity to offer their players online keno for real money on demand, this has the potential to grow the game of keno to its maximum by allowing everyone, anywhere, the ability to play it anytime. Even though online keno isn’t promoted anywhere near as much as other online gambling games, it does have a high margin and online casinos are more than happy to roll it out to those who wish to play it.

Online sites also look to leverage the classic method of having scheduled drawings, which closely resembles the runner game that land-based casinos host, without the need for anyone to move. Since keno is not such an engaging game, this method allows players to sidestep this issue and also spread around the desire to play so that it does not risk becoming saturated by playing game after game in too tight of a timeframe.

Whatever your preferences as far as real money keno happen to be, whether that be an occasional game or spending the whole day playing it on a virtual terminal, where the next game is always just a click away, online casinos are waiting to take care of you. Provided that you are playing at a trusted online casino who have their random number generator regularly tested, you can be completely assured that the drawings are completely fair, and this is something online gamblers should always assure themselves of.

One of the real benefits of keno is that players can design their own payout scheme, and instead of focusing on certain slots which may pay out more often or less often with the potential for bigger winnings, keno players can simply choose to play less numbers if they want more frequent wins and more numbers if they want to shoot for bigger wins, which broadens its appeal.

In spite of its higher house edge, keno does deserve a spot on a casino’s menu, especially among those who dream of winning jackpots. Just like with land-based keno, where you play matters a lot and the house edge with keno varies considerably among both land-based and online casinos.

The costs of running a keno game is much lower than land-based keno, so there is the potential for the house edge to be considerably smaller than what you see at land-based casinos, necessary to pay all their people who run it. Online operators may still charge too much and hope no one notices, which is one of many reasons why online casino site selection and getting the right advice about this is so key.

Keno FAQs
  • How did the game of keno get its start?

    Keno has been offered as a type of lottery in China for thousands of years, and was eventually brought to the rest of the world by Chinese immigrants. It turned out that not only the Chinese loved this game, and the original Chinese characters on a keno card eventually got changed to numbers to make it easier for non-Chinese to play. It was originally called baige piao, and eventually was given the more Western sounding name of keno.

  • How can land-based casinos offer keno tickets so cheaply?

    You can generally play keno at land-based casinos for as little as a dollar per play, and even the $2 minimum that some resort casinos require still isn’t a lot of money. Keno is priced like lottery tickets which have proven that the ideal threshold is in the $1-$2 per ticket range. While paying people to roam the casino and take tickets does cost money, the pricing model does allow for this to be done profitably, since the game itself costs virtually nothing to run.

  • Can online keno games offer players better odds if they want?

    Just like online slots tend to offer better odds than physical slot machines, due to the far lower cost of operation, the much lower cost of running a keno game online versus at a land-based casino at least offers the potential for a lot better deals for players. The same principle would also apply to online casino table games as well, although online casinos have yet to fully leverage this advantage. They can with keno though and being at a good keno site over a lesser one can matter.

  • How does the house edge with keno measure up to other games?

    Keno doesn’t have as high of a house edge as lotteries do, which are typically set at 50% or more, but the house edge with keno can still be on the high side, where it is offered at up to 35%. With table games, there generally aren’t any differences between casinos and choosing among them may come down to the level of comps that they pay, but there is no real standardization with keno like there is with blackjack, roulette, craps, or baccarat, and we therefore may want to pay attention to these things with keno.

  • Why do a lot of keno games limit your picks to 15?

    Hitting 15 out of 15 already involves millions of dollars, and at this point you start running into the limit that a casino could possibly pay for a big win, even with insurance. It doesn’t make sense to make a bet that is so improbable that all the money in the world wouldn’t even be a fair payout in regard to the odds. Casinos can’t pay out more than a few million dollars and it is pointless to shoot for payouts that you could never collect.

  • Why aren’t there keno tables at casinos?

    Table games have contingencies built in, such as the fall of cards, the spin of wheels, or the outcome of rolling dice. Even something as simple as a spinning wheel involves a certain amount of anticipation between results. Keno results are instant and unequivocal, like a lottery is, and watching numbers drawn at keno isn’t something that a lot of players find very exciting. This is much more suited to being bet on concurrently with other casino games that people find more interesting to watch.

  • Why do so many people find keno appealing?

    People enjoy keno for the same reasons as they enjoy playing the lottery, where you can wager very small amounts and play for very big prizes. When the prize money with lotteries increase, this generates a lot more interest, and this demonstrates how big the jackpot effect is with games like this. Keno allows players to set jackpots all the way up to the sky, which take the game to the limits of what casinos could manage to possibly pay out to people. You can choose between small, medium, large, and incredibly large payouts when you play keno.

  • Are there strategies that you can use when you play keno?

    Keno does not involve players making many decisions, apart from how much you wish to bet and how many numbers that you select, and that’s part of the beauty of the game. One of the reasons why the lottery is so popular is that it is so easy, and this is the case with the popularity of slots as well. Keno does also offer a very wide berth as far as strategic decisions about how much you are shooting to get paid, and ideally, the number of selections should match one’s own particular goals and tastes.

  • Can you play real money keno online?

    Most good online casinos offer keno, generally both instant keno where you play it like you would slots, as well as scheduled keno games. Should you wish to play keno endlessly, real money online casinos will let you do so to your heart’s delight, or if you just wish to play keno for a short time or once in a while, a keno game always awaits and the site is at your beck and call. If you prefer to wager on a scheduled keno game, they have those too.

  • Does it matter which online sites that you play keno at?

    Just like with playing any online casino game, where you play real money keno online definitely does matter. Most online casino sites are very trustworthy, although you definitely want to avoid the lesser ones. The quality of the offerings of a casino overall always needs to be taken into account, including how good their keno games are. The only real way to be sure if a casino you want to try out is worthy of you is to get expert advice first from trusted independent advisors.

References & Scholarly Articles

Associate Writer: Simon loves to bet on sports as well as play online slots, and he has a keen eye for sorting out the honest sites from the not so honest.