Online keno is one of the most popular games at UK casino sites. It’s a lottery-like game that requires you to pick a range of numbers and then hope they come good.
Keno games are fast-paced, easy to learn and can often be played for small amounts of cash. It’s an ideal casino ideal game for new players who want to ease their way into betting and experienced gamblers who want a break from betting strategies.
We’ve explained everything you need to know about how to play keno, listing the game rules, highlighting bonuses you can use and assessing some of the top casinos that offer it.
All you need to do is get a firm understanding of keno, pick your casino and play some games.
How we review casino sites with online keno games
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Learning the rules of online keno
Some casino games are complicated. Others are simple. But regardless of the game, if you sit down to play a casino game without knowing the rules then you’re asking for a losing gambling session.
Online keno is one of the most straightforward casino games available today and you find learning how to play keno as simple as pie.
All you need to do to get a clear understanding of the rules of keno is to follow these steps:
Step 1: pick your keno card
Simply head over to a casino with real money online keno games for you to play or free keno games for you to try, decide on a title and then get your keno card (or keno ticket).
Step 2: choose your numbers
Just see how many numbers you need to choose and then add them to your keno card. You may have a system for selecting or you might want to add them at random. The important thing is that the rules say all the numbers need to be selected for you to play keno.
Step 3: your numbers are drawn
The keno game draws your numbers. The rules are that you get a payout for each match you have. So, the more matches on your card the bigger your win.
Basics of how to play keno online
Knowing the rules of online keno is the first step to being able to have a fun gambling session at your chosen online casino(s). Once you know the rules, your next step is to pick up the basics of how to play keno.
If you play real money online keno games then you’ll get a card with a grid of numbers on it. These numbers will be organized in eight rows with ten numbers per row, making a total number of 80 which will be marked 1-80.
On this keno card you must mark the numbers that you think will come up. If you're not sure what this means yet, don't worry because it will all become clear.
The number of numbers you can choose will vary from place to place but will usually be a maximum of between 10 and 20. Once you have made your selection you take your keno card to a keno writer with whom you will place your bet. The bet is always in multiples of whatever the house minimum is.
How do bets work in online keno games?
You have to place bets to be able to play online keno and to do this you need to know how the betting works in keno games.
When bets have been laid then a large keno box container at the front with 80 balls numbered 1-80 will be activated. These keno balls will jump around in the box to make sure they are all mixed up fairly. 20 of these balls will be chosen, one at a time.
A keno site will of course not have a physical box but rather the keno numbers will be automatically chosen by a random number generator.
Some keno sites will have an image of the box nonetheless. Whether you are playing land-based keno or online keno, it is these numbers that you have bet on.
When you marked a number on your keno card, you wagered that that keno number would come out of the box. Your winnings will then depend on the type of bet you made.
What are the winnings when playing Keno?
The winnings in keno depend on two factors. Firstly, how much money you wagered. Secondly, how many 'hits' you get.
A hit in keno is a predicted number that appeared. The payouts vary greatly from place to place, and from online keno site to online keno site. However the payouts from every online casino can be easily found.
Understanding keno payout percentages
Payout percentages are an important part of any casino game and it’s no different when you play keno.
Payouts in keno are given in the RTP (return to player) figure, which is displayed as a percentage. Below, we’ve listed the RTP you can expect to see in a ten-ball game of keno. These figures are based on the number of balls you pick:
Overall, keno has an RTP of between 75% and 98%. This means that at the lower-end, keno’s payout percentage compares poorly to many other casino games. For example, many online blackjack games have a payout of around 99%.
What bonuses can I use when playing online keno?
All of the best online casinos offer bonuses because they give players some extra cash or credit to use on their favourite games.
There are lots of different bonuses available to you but not all of them can be used for keno games. These are the main bonuses you can use when you play keno online:
As the name indicates, welcome bonuses are for new players and are available when you sign up to a site. A welcome bonus is a cash reward and online casinos often link it to deposits, so the site will match your deposit up to a certain amount and percentage.
No deposit bonuses
As you might expect, no deposit bonuses don’t require you to deposit your own cash to be able to benefit from using them. These rewards are for a cash amount but it’s rare for online casinos to offer them. The reason for this is that sites generally want you to commit some of your own money to be able to get a bonus, so they know they’re getting something in return.
What variations of online keno can I play at casino sites?
Throughout this guide to playing keno online, we’ve focused on the classic variant of this lottery-like game — single card keno.
But the best online keno casinos offer more than one variation of this great game and these are the other types you should look for:
Progressive jackpots: the jackpot keeps going up until a player wins it.
Packaged keno: you buy keno cards in bulk at a discounted rate.
Multi-card keno: like single card games except that you have many cards in play.
Power keno: your winnings are quadrupled if you hit the 20th number on your ticket.
Keno slots: made like slots and this means faster gameplay and more numbers.
Pros & cons of playing online keno at casino sites
Playing keno online can be great fun. There aren’t many rules to learn and the gameplay is simple, which means it’s ideal for newer and more inexperienced players.
But simplicity isn’t for everyone, which means keno does have its downsides as well as its upsides.
This is why we’ve highlighted the main pros and cons of the game, so you can make a truly informed decision about whether you want to play keno online:
It’s a really simple game to learn and play
Many online casinos have keno games
There are a few variations you can try
It doesn’t offer great payouts compared to other games
Simplicity means there’s no scope for using strategies
Keno games are heavily based upon chance
A brief history of keno
Keno is one of the oldest known forms of gambling, with the game originating in China and being popular during the Han dynasty (202 BC–220 AD).
Indeed, popular legend states that keno saved an ancient city during wartime and that the popularity of the game helped to get the funds needed to build the Great Wall of China.
We’ve included a brief history of keno below, so you can see how the game developed:
Keno originated in China
Keno was first played in China with 120 Chinese characters. The game was hugely popular during the Han dynasty, with Cheung Leung (a Han ruler) encouraging people to play it so that taxes collected from its games could be used to pay for the Han dynasty war.
Keno moved to America in the 1800s
Keno was taken to America by Chinese settlers during the nineteenth century. The settlers went to America to work and brought keno with them and introduced the game to Americans. The introduction of keno to America led to the Chinese characters being replaced by numbers, as Americans found the characters difficult to understand.
Racehorse keno was born from a 20th century legal loophole
America is known for its love of gambling but a legal loophole prevented keno from being played during a part of the 20th century. The loophole was that gambling was permitted but lotteries weren’t. Keno operators got around this by creating racehorse keno and saying it was a racing game.
Keno games are played online across the world in the 21st century
Keno has been around for centuries but it’s probably never been more widely played than it is today. With the advent and growth of the digital gambling industry, millions of players across the globe play keno online.
Best casino sites for playing keno online
Keno is one of the most popular casino games in the world and there are many great gambling sites where you can play it. We’ve highlighted three of the best sites for playing keno and given quick explanations of why you’ll like using them.
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