Last Updated on March 12, 2023 by

Undoubtedly, keno is one of the most popular casual gambling games ever, enjoyed by millions around the globe. It’s easy to play with lucrative prize pools. The latter consists of players picking a specific set of numbers, usually up to twenty from a range of eighty, and waiting to see how many of their selections correspond to numbers drawn randomly by the party hosting the game.

Given that state lottery commissions run keno draws and this game getting offered at land-based and online casinos, there is some confusion regarding how keno differs from the lottery. The answer to that question is that keno is a type of lottery.

Below, we get into what there is to know about keno, explaining how it differs from other lotteries and what makes it a unique gambling pick with such mass appeal.

What Is a Lottery?

Lotteries are the most renowned and played gambling games on the planet. However, when the average Joe gets asked to define what one is, most get perplexed at this inquiry and cannot quickly manufacture an appropriate answer. That is because this is an all-encompassing term that refers to any gambling game involving drawing numbers at random. Depending on which ones are selected, a prize is paid out to those who guessed these selections accurately. The rewards in play can be goods or a fixed amount of cash.

In most lotteries, the organizer sells a specific number of tickets, and a percentage of the revenues from their sale creates the advertised prize. Many of the more famous lottos label themselves as 50/50 ones, meaning their rewards are 50% of the value of the tickets sold. Hence, the risk is on the organizer to generate enough sales for the draw to be profitable for him.

Lotteries started to become widespread around the 15th century in Europe as a method to raise money to help the poor and assist in building town fortifications. The term lottery derives from the Old French word lot, which means share, depicting the nature of the game.

Bingo and scratch cards, also known as instant lottos, are two other forms of lotteries that most people know about and have played at one point or another. Moreover, due to charitable organizations utilizing them to attain funding, these games often get preferential regulatory treatment as long as their prize pools are not overly impressive and feature a limited player base.

What Is Keno?

Keno is a lottery-style game that, as mentioned in the intro, now gets offered at gaming establishments, by state/national lottery commissions, and on the internet. What is interesting about it is that keno is the first ever documented lottery in history. Its roots can get traced to the Chinese Han Dynasty. Specifically, from 205 BC to 187 BC. During this period, the commonly held belief is that keno got used to aid the financing of massive government projects, such as the construction of the Great Wall of China.

The word keno has Latin or French origins, meaning five of each in Latin or five winning numbers in French. The payouts in this game are determined by how many numbers a gambler chooses on his ticket and how many of these a machine picks via an indiscriminate selection. Most keno games nowadays implement the 80-ball system, where the top reward, the jackpot, gets paid to the individual that guesses twenty out of the twenty numbers drawn correctly. The probability of that happening in 80-ball keno is 1 in 3,535,316,142,212,173,800.000.

The reason why keno is a casino gambling option is that in its base, it is a player versus organizer contest, and its result creation process is 100% random. Therefore, it qualifies as a gaming pick. It is one 

with a house edge of anywhere between 20-40%, depending on the rules in play.

Which Is Better to Play?

Lotteries, in general, have low winning odds. Real money keno sites are the RNG video variety. These implement slot-like specifications. What does that mean? Well, the process regarding how to play remains relatively the same. Still, the winning probability is better because these picks can provide lower-level rewards—better prizes at the rate of high variance slots.

It is not hard to find a video keno game on the internet and at brick-and-mortar locales with RTP settings or around 93%, which is why wins come more often. While gambling on regular keno draws, the odds one faces to get something back for money bet are sizeable.

There is no how-to-win guide concerning keno for any variation, so it all comes down to preferences and expectations.

This article was written in collaboration with gambling experts.

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