Play Online Keno Games

Are you a keen keno player and looking for the best online keno site to play at? Or maybe you're still a newbie and wondering how keno actually works?

Either way, we at have created the ultimate guide to all-things keno. This includes a brief history of keno, a full breakdown of how the rules work, what strategies you need to employ to remain profitable long-term, and more!

History of Keno

Keno is one of the oldest casino games to grace its presence in the online gambling space. But where did it first grow its roots? Well, the general consensus is the earliest form of the game dates back to the 19th century in China.

Interestingly, evidence suggests that Keno was played as a means to raise funds for the Chinese military. Other historians that agree with its Chinese roots also note that proceeds from Keno helped to fund the Great Wall of China. Research also suggests that Chinese players would utilise pigeons with the view of carrying Keno game results to other locations through the city!

More specifically, the Chinese administrative area of Macau was where the first modern game of Keno was played within a regulated casino environment. In terms of bringing the modern game to the Western World, it is widely believed that this was a result of Chinese immigrants that moved to the U.S. in the mid-1800s.

Once the game caught on, locals would refer to the game as Chinese Lottery. However, as the numbers used by Chinese immigrants were originally in Chinese characters, it made it difficult for Americans to play. This is why the modern game now uses Roman alpha-numeric characters  - even in Macau live casinos!

Fast forward to 2019 and not only is Keno found at the vast bulk of land-based casinos worldwide - but you’ll now find it hosted at thousands of online casino sites. With that being said, this hugely popular game can now be enjoyed at the click of a button at home, or via your mobile device!

How to Play Keno Online

As players typically stick with the likes of roulette, blackjack, and slot games when playing at an online casino, we often find that people are unaware of how keno actually works. If this sounds like you - and you’d like a Layman overview of how to play Keno, be sure to check out the step-by-step guide outlined below!

  1. Traditional Keno Balls

Before you attempt to play online keno, it is crucial that you understand the ball structure of the game. Although some online casinos will now offer multiple variations to keno, the classic layout will consist of 80 numbers.

To clarify, these numbers run consecutively from 1-80. In a similar way to a traditional game of bingo or the national lottery, balls are randomly drawn one-by-one. As you’ve probably guessed, the overarching aim is to match your numbers with the numbers that are drawn from the machine.

If you were to play keno at a land-based casino, then this would be via an old-school keno machine. However, the online version is a lot more sophisticated, with numbers generated via a water-tight software algorithm.

  1. What is the Objective of the Game?

As we at briefly noted above, the aim of the game in online Keno is to match the numbers on your ticket, with that of the numbers found on the balls drawn from the random machine. Once again, this is not too dissimilar to bingo.

However, keno uses a different set of rules from bingo, insofar that a fixed number of balls will be drawn. On the contrary, bingo will see the balls drawn one-by-one until somebody wins.

As we will discuss shortly, you get to choose how many numbers you want on your ticket.

  1. Understand how the Payout System Works

When it comes to winning at keno, it is important to once again note that the game differs from traditional bingo. In a nutshell, keno operates on a fixed-odds system. On the contrary, bingo utilises a 'pool system' - meaning that the amount that you can potentially win will depend on how many tickets were purchased.

The fixed-odds system found within Keno operates in a similar nature to a game of video poker, insofar that the stronger your position - the higher the odds that you will get paid out at. Similarly, the fixed-odds system also allows you to set your own stakes - subsequently making it perfect for players of all shapes and sizes.

To keep things simple, let's say that you are playing keno online and you match four numbers from your virtual ticket. Upon checking the payout table, you see that matching four numbers pays 4x. As such, if you were to stake £20 on that respective game, then you would win £80 (£20 x 4). On the other hand, if you went full-hog and staked £200 per game, you would instead win £800!

Ultimately, this is one of the overarching benefits of playing a fixed-odds game like keno, as you get to choose your own betting parameters. For example, if you're a newbie and just looking to figure out how the game works, a lot of online casinos will allow you to play from just 50p. Additionally, some casinos will cater to high staked players, with bet sizes often running into the thousands of pounds!

  1. Choosing Your Spot Numbers

So now that you have a firm understanding of the fixed-odds system, you now need to get to grips with the 'spots'. Don't worry, spots is just the keno term for numbers. Nevertheless, it is important to note that unlike bingo - which will see your ticket made up of randomly generated numbers, keno allows you to actually pick your own.

As we noted earlier, the number range goes from 1-80, so you can pick any numbers that you see fit. However, you need to make some considerations regarding the quantity of numbers that you pick, as this will have a direct impact on the odds of the game.

The amount of numbers that you can pick will also depend on the underlying casino site, as some platforms allow you to pick 20 numbers (known as 20 card keno online), while others will limit it to 10. In most cases, you can pick a minimum of 1 number. It is also important to note that when you play online keno, the specific RTP (return to player) that you get can vary depending on the number of spots that you choose - so be sure to check this prior to starting the game!

  1. Start the Game

Once you have chosen your stake and selected your spots, you are then ready to start your very first game of keno! Once you click on the 'START' button, the game will begin to draw numbers in front of your very eyes. The underlying software ensures that the ball drawing process is 100% random - free from the threats of manipulation.

In a similar nature to bingo, every time a drawn ball matches one of your spots, the spot will be highlighted on-screen. As you now know, the idea is to match as many numbers as you can. Don't forget, keno will limit the number of drawn balls before the game is over. Once it is, you will be paid out based on the number spots that are matched, against the stake that you played the game at.

Play Keno for Free

We hope that by reading the above step-by-step guide, you are now ready to start playing online keno. However, if you’re still not 100% sure, or you’re not quite ready to start risking your own money, it might be a good idea to initially play for free.

In most cases, online casinos will allow you to play the game in demo mode, meaning that it won’t cost you any money. While you won’t be able to win any prizes, you will have the chance to understand the game in its entirety. Furthermore, the demo version of the game is always identical to the real money version, which is great.

The second option that you have at your disposal is to claim a welcome bonus. These are casino bonuses that are offered to players that are yet to open an account. In claiming one, you’ll get to use your bonus funds on keno and have the chance of winning real prizes!

Keno Betting Strategy

If you're here looking for a specific keno strategy, it is crucial for you to remember that the game is based on chance. As such, the ball drawing process is completely random - facilitated entirely by the underlying software algorithm.

However, we should also mention that your RTP - which relates to your statistical chance of winning the game, can be influenced by the number of spots that you choose. Strangely, the equilibrium appears to be the selection of just three spots in a 10-spot game. Choosing anything higher or lower than this will lead to a reduced RTP, so do bear this in mind.

Although not a strategy per-say, it is also important to note that keno can be played at extreme speeds when playing online. In the land-based casino version, you will need to wait for players to purchase their tickets and choose their spot numbers, as well as wait for the croupier to draw the numbers.

On the contrary, you can play a game of keno online from start to finish in less than 30 seconds! All-in-all, just be careful with your chosen stake sizes, as you will have the opportunity to get through a lot of games online very quickly.

With that being said, if you manage to find a game of keno that comes with an above-average RTP, there is nothing wrong with playing at a high speed, as long as you limit your stakes. Ultimately, bankroll management is crucial in the online gambling space!

Play Keno Online Today

If you've read our Ultimate Guide to Keno from start to finish, we hope that you now have a comprehensive understanding of how the game works, and what you need to do to ensure you remain profitable long-term.

If you're now ready to start playing, you will first need to locate a trusted online casino that hosts keno. In order to help you along the way, we at BestRatedSlotSites have published multiple casino guides for your perusal. In reading our in-depth reviews, you'll stand the best chance possible of choosing the right keno site for your individual needs!


Are online keno games fair?
The software that generates the balls in online keno is created by regulated providers that are in possession of a Gambling Commission license. This ensures that games are completed fair.

Can keno be played on a mobile device?
The vast majority of online keno games can now be enjoyed on a mobile device. You’ll have the option of accessing the game via your mobile web browser, or via the casino’s native app.

Can I use bonus money to play keno?
Most welcome bonuses can be used to play keno. However, just make sure that you check the terms and conditions first.

How much money can I win in a keno game?
This will depend on a number of factors, such as how much you stake, the number of spots that you match, and, the fixed-odds offered by the casino for your respective win.

Where should I play keno online?
There are countless casinos operating in the online space that will allow you to play keno at the click of a button. We would suggest reading our impartial casino reviews before opening an account. That way, you stand the best chance possible of making an informed decision as to whether or not the online casino is right for you.

Charles Baxendale

A keen researcher in the development of methods and theories for computer sciences. A lover of algorithms and mathematical computation. Consultant to online slots software companies and a player in my spare time.