November 20, 2019

Rules of Keno

How to play keno – rules governing the game

There are really three sets of rules governing a game of keno:

  • The rules of the game of keno itself – that is, how it is played.
  • The House Rules set by the casino, covering such issues as maximum payouts, deadlines for placing a bet before the draw, and for claiming your winnings.
  • Rules set by any external governing bodies (such as national gambling laws), which cover issues such as age limits, and the type of premises where it can be played. The casino you’re playing in is obliged to ensure certain of these rules are adhered to. But some of them may be your responsibility – such as the obligation to report large wins to your taxation authorities.

Rules of the game of Keno

The game of Keno itself is very simple:

  • In each Keno game, 20 numbers are drawn from a pool of 80.
  • The object of the game is for the player to guess what some of those numbers will be.
  • You indicate your choices before the draw begins by completion of a ‘keno ticket’.
  • You place your bet by submitting and paying for the ticket.
  • After the draw you receive winnings according to how many numbers you guessed correctly.

Filling out your ticket

To fill out a basic (straight) keno ticket all you do is:

  • mark one or more numbers on the blank ticket, usually up to a maximum of 15
  • indicate how many consecutive games you wish to play with those numbers
  • write the amount you would like to bet on each game
  • present your ticket to the Keno desk and pay for your ticket

You can generally play as many tickets as you wish on any one draw.

In a few minutes, twenty numbered Keno balls will be drawn, and if enough of your selected numbers are drawn, you are a winner.

There are various more complicated ways you can complete a ticket, but they’re not necessary.

House rules for Keno

The basics of the game are the same regardless of where you play it, but the payouts and guidelines can vary from casino to casino. And individual casinos can offer their own special games with their own rules.

It is recommended that you stop by a Keno counter and pick up a free booklet outlining the house rules and payouts.

Keno Payout Schedules

The prize tables in keno can look a bit complicated. Here’s our quick tips on what to look out for in keno pay schedules.

Each casino has its own system of payouts, which you will find set out in the Keno brochures or payout schedules around the casino or, if you’re playing Video keno you’ll find a payout table on each machine. An example is shown below.

The term ‘spot’ refers to how many numbers you have marked on your ticket. The term ‘catch’ refers to how many of your chosen numbers match what the house draws.

The table shows what you will win for a 1 coin stake. You need to multiply these amounts by the amount you are wagering. So in the example below, if you make a $2 bet, pick 4 spots and catch 3 of them you will win $12 (that is, $2 x 6).

This schedule does not pay out if you don’t match any numbers. But in some cases if you mark a lot of numbers the casino pays off if you catch 0.

Note that in Keno you do not get your stake back if you win.

Example keno pay table

example keno payout schedule

This is the payout schedule for online casinos running on Microgaming software. If you like the look of it, here’s where to find Microgaming casinos.

In a live casino keno game, where lots of players are gambling on the same draw, the most the house can pay out for any one draw is generally $50,000. If there are too many winners they will each get a proportionate share of this sum.