Keno is a lottery-like game that has its own special place in casinos. It has much different gameplay than the majority of casino games such as blackjack, roulette or video slots, which makes it a breath of fresh air.

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Keno is usually played at a modern online casino nowadays, but some lotteries offer it in their package as well. The game is pretty simple to play. Players are required to bet on several numbers ranging from 1-80.

They mark their choices, 20 numbers are randomly drawn and compared to the numbers players have marked on their tickets.

Online Keno

It’s not unlike the lottery or bingo at all, except it comes with a few different rules. Keno is a pretty old game dating back to ancient China. So in a way, it can be considered a precursor to modern bingo games.

What are the Rules of Keno?

As the world’s first lottery game, the rules are pretty clear. After being promoted by Chinese workers on the Intercontinental railroad, keno started attracting many fans in America. It was quite popular in Texas in the XIX century and eventually found its way to Nevada, the world’s gambling capital.

The popularity grew even more and thanks to the profits it brought to Nevada casinos. Other states reformed laws in order to allow keno in their casinos. With a few rule changes, keno found its way into American culture pretty fast.

Although confined to casinos, the numbers game inspired the birth of bingo which has enjoyed huge success in the USA. Also in Europe. Both games are played in a similar fashion. But Their is a difference. The the fact that players choose their own numbers in keno instead of assigned ones. A regular keno card has 80 numbers, with players marking as many numbers as they want. They then give the ticket to the clerk in a keno booth and receive a receipt – just like playing bingo.

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The Numbers You Pick

In general, players pick around 20 numbers, but this depends on the casino you’re playing in. Some online casinos have a limited numbers players can choose. The prizes are displayed on a paytable. The biggest prize is awarded to the player who has all the winning numbers (20) on their ticket. Chances for this to happen are also the lowest at 1:3,535,316,142,212,174,320. If you were ever wondering why the main prizes on lottery tickets are so big, there’s your answer.

Once players have made their choices, they wait for the winning numbers to appear on a screen. They mark the ones that match their own on the card. The winnings according to the paytable are based on the correctly predicted numbers. When a player wins, he takes the ticket back to the keno booth where he receives his prize. Drawings take place every 5 minutes or so, so players should be quick to check their tickets and get their prize before it is voided.

Online Keno

All the rules from above apply to standard keno played in casinos. However, the game has evolved pretty much in the past 20 years with the growth of online casinos. Different variations of keno and even live versions can be played in any online casino today. They all come with slightly tweaked rules which makes the numbers game all the more exciting.

The rules of play between online keno variations and traditional keno are not very different. The main difference is that all the information about the game including the paytable is available on one screen. Of course, there’s no keno booth where you pay for the selected numbers. Instead, you’re doing it all from a single screen which also announces the winning numbers. It’s a much simpler experience which is why players prefer it.

The thing that makes online keno much better than keno at land-based casinos is the availability of several other variations. For example, Power Keno will quadruple your winnings if the last (20th) number matches your last selected number. Other keno variations such as Keno Combination allow you to pick groups of numbers> Others reduce the numbers you can select to 10 or 15. There are even mobile versions of keno you can always enjoy on the go.

Thanks to the simpler rules, online keno is much more popular than the standard keno in land-based casinos. Considering the fact that the prizes can be huge, we strongly suggest giving it a try yourself.

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The history

The game has been around for quite a long time. Legends say that the birth of keno as a lottery game saved a city on the brink of destruction in time of war. Other legends say that the popularity of the game funded the construction of the Great Wall of China. And, although we have no original historical documents that show it, using the lottery as a way of funding public institutions was common in China around the XIX century and was most likely inspired by keno.

The Name

The word keno probably has French (or Latin) roots (quini – five numbers). Before the middle of the XIX century, Chinese lottery was not documented, until the government of Macau decided to start issuing lottery licenses. Stories say that official results of keno games from major Chinese cities in the past were sent by carrier pigeons to close villages. These results were called “white dove tickets” or baak-gap-piu in Cantonese which is spelled pakapoo in Western countries. Pakapoo was the name of a XIX-century Chinese lottery game popular in Australia which probably gave birth to modern keno.

Originally, the Chinese used printed sheet characters taken from the poem Thousand Characters Classic (usually the first 80) which was used to teach the Chinese language to children from VI century onwards. Keno was quite popular in China in the XIX century. Thanks to the thousands of Asians which helped build the First Transcontinental Railroad during the same time, it reached the USA. There it laid out the foundations for modern keno in casinos.

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