All the Important Information About Keno in One Place

Lottery games are the most popular forms of gambling in the world. It’s hard to find a country where some sort of lottery game isn’t played. Here is the Important Information About Keno.

Based on the old practice of casting lots, lottery games use a random drawing method to decide an outcome. Lot casting is used to make an important decision or choice. A lottery drawing is used to select a winner of a prize.

Lottery drawings are only considered a form of gambling if the players pay to be included in the lottery. A sweepstake is a form of the lottery drawing, but it’s not considered gambling as the players are not risking any personal wealth on the outcome of the drawing.

Do you know keno uses more numbers than any other major lottery drawing!

Do you know keno uses more numbers than any other major lottery drawing!
Do you know keno uses more numbers than any other major lottery drawing!

As a keno player, you pick from 1 to 80 for each of the “spots” you play on a card. No other authorized lottery game yet uses that many main numbers. Some versions of keno also use bonus numbers, like the Powerball or Mega Millions of bonus numbers. This is one of the all the Important Information About Keno.

The maximum numbers used in any form of keno play are:

  • Euro Millions – 50
  • Mega Millions – 70
  • Powerball – 69
  • Keno – 80

The more numbers you need to match, the less likely you will match the game’s jackpot-winning combinations.

Keno also allows you to choose as many as 10 main numbers (aka “spots”). The other three games only require you to pick five main numbers. Those other games have far smaller probabilities of matching their jackpot combinations than a typical 10-spot keno game.

How to play keno

How to play keno
How to play keno

You use a card with up to 10 “spots” per game. You select your numbers for each game. To illustrate, suppose you want to play three games on a card. You make only minimum wagers ($1) on each of the games. This is one of the Important Information About Keno..

The first game is a 10-spot game. You choose 10 numbers. You decide to play a five-spot game for the second game, thus choosing only five numbers to match in the drawing. The third game is a six-spot game, requiring only six numbers to be chosen.

You submit the card and pay the wager to the venue managing the game. In an online venue, this may consist of filling out a form on a screen and clicking on “PLAY.” You then wait until the next drawing. In most games, this is only a few minutes. Keno lounges in casinos usually have a drawing every 10 minutes. A few variations on keno only offer a daily drawing.

You may immediately claim any prizes after the drawing up to a certain limit. Unless otherwise stated in the game rules, 20 numbers are randomly selected to determine prizes.

The prizes depend on how many numbers in each combination matched any of the 20 drawn numbers.

  • In one-spot games, you must match anyone drawn number.
  • At two-spot games, you should match any two drawn numbers.
  • In three-spot and four-spot games, you need to at least two drawn numbers.
  • At five-spot, six-spot, and seven-spot games, you have to match at least three drawn numbers.
  • At eight-spot and nine-spot games, you have to match at least four drawn numbers.
  • In 10-spot games, you need to match at least five drawn numbers or NO numbers at all to win a prize.
Keno estimated return to the player varies by game
Keno estimated return to the player varies by game

Although the keno rules are usually similar, the prizes for matching the various drawings are not necessarily the same.

The Massachusetts state lottery’s keno game allows 11-spot and 12-spot games. The maximum prize for matching all the numbers in the 12-spot game is only $1 million. Whereas a typical multi-state or multi-country lotteries like Powerball or Euromillions, that’s a very poor RTP.

The Ohio state lottery keno game only allows a max of 10-spot wagers. Both states pay a $100,000 prize for matching all 10 numbers.

Land-based casinos also offer keno games. The Wizard of Odds surveyed casino keno games in 2002 and 2012, finding wide ranges of RTP. The games in the Wizard of Odds surveys were provided by Game Maker machines, and in all but one case paid 10,000 times the wager ($1 to $20) for a 10-number match.

You should always check the specific rules of the game you choose before playing. Don’t rely on your memory of other keno games’ pay tables. You may have a good memory, but they may pay differently from whichever keno game you’re playing at the moment.

Keno is found in many different venues and formats

Keno is found in many different venues and formats
Keno is found in many different venues and formats

Most keno games are played every few minutes. Most games are decided by random number generators. While the use of an RNG doesn’t do much to change the results for players, it does distinguish the few keno games that still use random draws.

In some states or countries, you can pay for keno games throughout the day at restaurants, small stores, and other community locations. All of these games are run by government gaming authorities or their direct game providers. This is one of the Important Information About Keno.

In land-based casinos, the keno games may be local or offered by gaming networks. Online casinos usually license a server with software from a gaming platform company. The platform provider manages the keno games, which may or may not be networked between online casinos.

Keno doesn’t always have the worst RTP in the house

Keno doesn’t always have the worst RTP in the house
Keno doesn’t always have the worst RTP in the house

The house edge at keno, are figurative percentages at best. They represent expected distributions of all wagers across a large number of games. If the RTP is 80%, the house edge is 20%. The percentages always add up to 100%.

Some slot machine games have RTPs in the 60s and 70s. When you browse the Wizards of Odds page, you’ll see RTPs in the 80s and 90s, which is comparable to many slot games.

Always remember that:

In judging pokies and lottery games, when the manager says your odds are “1 in X,” they mean “1 in X” of winning any prize. There is no way you have a 1 in 4 chance of winning the max prize on any keno game. This is one of the Important Information About Keno.

It’s a gambling game. The outcome is done randomly. Most people cannot win.


Whether you enjoy lottery games or not, keno is not the simple rip-off game it’s often considered by many. There’s nothing wrong with only playing 10-spot or 12-spot games in keno. But you never have to do that.

It’s also less messy than playing scratch-off games. And maybe best of all, keno allows you to customize the rules much more than you can with other gambling games. That what makes it worth playing!

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