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Keno Games


Keno is some kind of lottery or bingo game that is usually played in modern casinos. However, there are traditional live casino keno games which used circular glass enclosures that were known as ‘bubble’. These enclosures contained 80 balls numbered 1 to 80 which were the determinant of the ball draw result. A blower was used for pushing air into the bubble and mixed up the balls and then a ‘caller’ would press a lever that opened a tube where the balls pass one at a time into a ‘V’ shaped tube known as ‘rabbit ears’. A verifier would then join the caller and record all the 20 drawn balls and then the keno system would calculate all the wagers based on the drawn numbers. Players would then use an ‘S’ symbol over the ‘spot’ choices on a keno ticket that is blank. After all the players have finished placing their wagers the casino will then draw 20 balls at random and this is at preset time intervals. The pay scale series of each casino are different and are known as ‘paytables’. Here a player is paid according to the number of drawn numbers that match all the numbers that have been selected on the ticket as well as according to the special paytable and this is with regard to the money sum wagered. There is a wide range of possible keno paytables in each casino as well as a big deviation in the house advantage which is set for each of the paytables.


Keno is a word that has Latin or French roots but the game originated from China. It is believed that the invention of this game helped to save the ancient city during the Chinese war. It is also believed that its popularity was responsible for raiding funds that were used in building the Great Wall of China. The Chinese played this game using sheets that were printed with Chinese characters usually the first 80 characters of the Thousand Character Classic from where the winning characters got selected. It was Chinese immigrants who introduced this game to the west after sailing across the Pacific Ocean while they were helping in building the First Transcontinental Railroad and this was in the 19th century. By 1900 the game had become very popular in Houston, Texas.


The payouts for keno mainly depend on how many numbers each player chooses as well as how many numbers are hit which should be multiplied by the proportion of the players original wager to the paytable base rate. The more numbers chosen and the more the numbers hit, the greater the player’s payout. Most casinos provide paytable wagers of between one and twenty numbers while some limit the choice to only 1 up to 10, 12 and 15 numbers. The chances of a player hitting all the 20 numbers with a 20 spot ticket have been approximated to 1 in 3.5 quintillion. Although this is hard, casinos also pay for hits on catches 0,1,2,2 and 7 through to 19 out of 20. 17 through to 19 catches pay similar to the solid 20 hit.