Australian Keno Guide - It's All in the Numbers, Baby!

Of all the games of chance available to online and live casino lovers, Keno has one of the most illustrious histories. Not only did Keno originate in China, it is believed that it is responsible for funding the building of the Great Wall. It is of great historical significance that gambling, games of chance, and luck would be responsible for one of the Wonders of the World. And these days, online keno is hugely popular across the world, including Australia.

Keno is very similar to a lottery and the name is taken from Bingo. Furthermore, this favourite game of chance was borrowed by the Cheung Leung Dynasty in 200 B.C.E. from a nursery rhyme consisting of 1000 symbols used to teach children. Originally, the Famous General chose only the first of 120 symbols from the children's classic. Over time, a Chinese lottery came to be. Cheung Leung was reported to be an avid gambler. People who marked the right characters with ink and brush would win prizes. The wealth that was raised as the result of this game was used to keep invading barbarians at bay.

The game was originally played across the land two times a day, morning and afternoon. Twice each day the emperor would draw random combinations. It is believed that doves carrying the great news across the land delivered the lottery results. The game was known as the White Pigeon Game as a result of this type delivery.

Over time the game continued to be a played throughout China. Chinese immigrants who came to discover gold introduced it to the United States of America in the 1800s. It became an awesome, well-loved pastime. It not only provided fun, it provided some real money wins back then too. It also emerged in Macau and became a gambling mainstay there as well.

horse raceIt wasn't long before casinos throughout the West were providing this game to its many players. The lottery game soon would evolve into including 80 numbers and was referred to as a "horse race".

Even today, many players will claim that they are "off to the races" or refer to it as "the race game". The horse race concept came as a result of the gaming businesses in Nevada. Lotteries were considered illegal, but horse racing wasn't. One was based on skill, the other chance. Even to this day, many forms of gambling are illegal, as they are not considered games of skill.

Casino owners would create fictional horse races and each of the 80 numbers represented a made-up horse. The way one would win was to select the winning horses. The way the original Horse Race Keno game was played was that 80 numbers were written onto pieces of paper and then placed into tubes. Numbers, horses, or more specifically the pieces of paper would be drawn out to reveal the winning combination of numbers. Over time, wooden balls and then plastic balls replaced the paper.

Avid casino players know all too well the monitors that are scattered throughout the casino, beckoning players to pick up their reins and join in on the race before the clock ticks down. The excitement builds as you see one, two, three, and more of your favourite numbers tumbling into place.

Not only is there live Keno available throughout live casinos, but also row upon row of Keno video games in denominations ranging typically from $0.25 to $5.00 and sometimes higher in High Limit rooms. The idea behind Keno is the greater quantity of numbers selected and matched, the higher the payout. That is because the likelihood of winning on all of your numbers chosen is very minimal due to the vast odd-configurations possible. Just like in the days of old when Keno was used to amass great wealth, so it is today that many people have won large sums of money playing this game that has stood the test of time.

How to Play Keno

Because Keno is extremely popular around the world, it is available online and live. It is categorized as a lottery game, and very similar to a game of Bingo. The rules and guidelines are very simple. You the player choose what you believe will be the winning numbers and what quantity of numbers to cover. Then you sit back and watch the random numbers get marked off before your eyes.

The playing surface where the action takes place is referred to as a Keno card. A Keno card is numbered from 1 through 80 and it is arranged in rows of 10. Players will choose anywhere from 1 to 20 numbers. It is important to remember that casinos determine the maximum and minimum numbers that can be chosen in order to play the game. Here is a sample of what you might find online or by way of video keno. The Pay Table below shows the payout schedule when the maximum is set at 10 numbers.

Hits Payouts
10 5000:1
9 1000:1
8 500:1
7 100:1
6 20:1
5 2:1

So if you wagered $5 on this card and you "hit" on 8 of your covered numbers your winning would have been $2500 dollars in real cash money. So what if you didn't choose the maximum possible numbers to be covered? What if you went for a smaller number? What if you only choose 4 numbers? The Pay Table below shows the payout schedule when the maximum is set at 4 numbers.

Hits Payouts
4 50:1
3 5:1
2 2:1

In the above scenario, had you wagered a maximum bet of $5.00, your maximum payout would have been $250.

Online Keno and Video Slot Keno

Playing Keno online or by way of a video slot Keno game at a live casino is pretty much the same game. Whereas live Keno uses actual plastic balls, online and video uses RNG (random, number generation). This ensures that it the numbers generated are, in fact, completely random. Because of this, there is little strategy possible aside from monitoring how much you wish to play with or wager. Some of the options when playing online are to decide:

  • Whether you want to pick the numbers
  • How many numbers you wish to cover
  • How much you will wager
  • Whether you let the numbers ride over and over again in an automated fashion
  • Whether you let the program choose your numbers for you after determining how many you wish to cover

Remember: The most important aspects of playing online or video Keno is to know the size of the wagers and what max-play means.

Benefits of Online Keno

You can play on the go and in many cases for free. Sometimes there is nothing more fun than to sit back and see if it is your lucky day. The good news is that many of the online casinos offer both free play and real money play. So switch it up! No matter where you are, you can quickly access a great Keno game. We have chosen some of our favourite online casinos for your pleasure. Our team of experts select only those online casinos that are safe, secure, minimal time to get going, great customer service, and awesome sign-on bonuses.

Live Casino Keno

Live casino is a little different and takes place in a Keno room. In this case, you purchase your card, mark your numbers, and watch with great anticipation as the random Ping-Pong balls are revealed. Once the balls are drawn, all of the submitted Keno cards are checked and winners are determined. Players are paid out based on the pay table at the casino where they are playing.

Live casino play is a great way to escape all the noise and high energy of the casino floor. Keno rooms are a great way to kick back, enjoy some refreshment, and settle down into what are frequently large oversized smoking chairs. Kick back, relax, and enjoy the win.

Rules and Bets

The rules and bets associated with Keno are very straightforward and easy. Due to the complete randomness of the keno ball selection, it is completely a game of chance. Basically, you select how many of the 80 numbers you will choose, and then pick that many numbers themselves. Some online keno games and video keno games have auto-selectors. In that case, you merely indicate how many numbers you want covered. The casino determines what the payout and ratio of pay will be.

For example, say you choose nine numbers. The casino will determine how many numbers have to be covered or "hit" in order for you to receive any payment. The more numbers covered, the higher the payout.

Keno payouts are determined by the quantity of numbers you choose and the quantity of actual numbers that hit, multiplied by the proportion of your wager. Typically, the more numbers a player chooses and the more numbers hit, the greater the payout. Some pay tables pay for hitting a lesser number of spots. Some casinos will pay $500 or even $1000 for a "catch" of 0 out of 20 on a 20 spot ticket with a $5 wager. Payouts differ from casino to casino and, in video keno, from machine to machine. 

The likelihood of a player hitting all the numbers they choose is very minimal. However, the payout when getting close to all the numbers is significant. When playing a 20 spot game, even though it is close to impossible to hit on all 20 numbers, you would still begin receiving payouts for hitting catches on different quantities from zero on up. Again, the payout breakdown is dependent upon the casino. Many casinos have huge payouts for hitting in the 17 to 19 range. In some cases that win is very close to a 20 number payout. Just imagine enough money to build your own Great Wall. Time to dream big. Eventually someone is going to hit on all 20.

Winning Strategy

Like any game of chance, the best strategy is to know your limit and stick to it. But aside from that, a key element of winning strategy is to start out relatively small, or even play at one of the recommended online casinos for free. Free play can be a great way for you to learn the game, lingo, and variety of payouts. Due to the growing popularity of Keno and the wide variety of entertaining forms available both online and in video pokie format, the perfect fit is out there for everyone.


  • All or Nothing
    A keno ticket that can pay you in two ways: either all of the numbers are shown (drawn) or none of them.
  • Bankroll
    How much money a player has to play with.
  • Call
    What the caller does when announcing the Keno balls as they are drawn. This is done at live casinos.
  • Catch
    A number marked by the player that is subsequently selected during the draw.
  • Edge Ticket
    A ticket where all of the numbers marked are on the edge of the ticket.
  • Exacta
    A Keno ticket that is good for two games, sometimes offering a special bonus payout on certain numbers or outcomes.
  • Free Play
    A Keno ticket that gives you a game for free after playing the first round rather than taking a cash payoff on the first.
  • Group
    A collection of number spots that are circled.
  • Hit
    This is what we all want! When the numbers drawn match the numbers selected.
  • Left-right ticket
    A wager that indicates that the numbers will be drawn from either the left or the right side of the ticket.
  • Pay Table
    A posted schedule of payoffs for each winning scenario.
  • Quick Pick
    When a player chooses to the option of having the computer select the numbers as opposed to he or she choosing the numbers manually.
  • Top-Bottom Ticket
    A ticket where the player wagers on the top 40 numbers or the bottom 40 numbers and the payout is based upon how many hit, accordingly.
  • Spot
    A number that is marked by the player on his/her ticket.
  • Way Ticket
    A Keno ticket that groups different numbers in more than one way, allowing for more than one way to win.


  • Is online Keno safe?

    Yes. Online Keno is not only safe and secure; it is a load of fun. Our experts have brought together many years of online casino knowledge to bring you the best of the best.

  • How is online Keno different from land casino play?

    First of all, you can switch from free play to real money play while never leaving your mobile device, iPad, PC, or Mac. Secondly, you can play it any time or place. Many online Keno games have additional features that you will not find in live casinos or even video Keno located in casinos. For example, you can select a set of your favourite numbers, let them stand, and track your wins over ten game intervals to discover how much money you really won using those numbers. Also, you can quickly switch up what type of Keno you wish to play and never have to skip a beat or leave your seat.

  • Is there a winning strategy?

    No, not really. The truth is the numbers are totally random because the draw of the plastic Ping-Pong balls at live casinos is completely random, and online software and video Keno technology rely upon RNGs. Keno is strictly a game of chance. The best winning strategy is to determine how much money you are willing to wager and knowing what the individual pay tables are in every circumstance, and then have fun and let the winning numbers reveal themselves to you.

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