Real Money Keno

Our real money keno guide covers everything you need to know about playing online keno games for real money including, the best online keno casinos and which ones offer free bonus money to play keno online.

We also cover the differences in playing live and real money online keno and the pros and cons of risking your money at online keno games.

Best Real Money Keno 2019 – Win Real Cash Playing Keno Online

Keno is a modern lottery-based casino gambling game that can be traced back for thousands of years. 

As you’ll learn down below, the history of keno offers one of the more intriguing origin stories in all of gambling, but the game’s future belongs online. While land-based casinos are increasingly downsizing their keno operations due to lack of demand, online casinos today spread dozens of different variants on the classic number-drawing game. 

You’ll always find the standard 80-ball game, which challenges players to correctly “catch” between 1 and 20 numbers drawn, but online keno operators have plenty of creative innovations to show off.

Playing Real Money Online Keno vs. Live Keno

Whether you’re playing keno live or online, the game is a notorious longshot that carries one of the highest house edges around. 

But if you can stomach the 70-80 percent payback rates, and their corresponding 20-30 percent house edges, keno offers a true “boom or bust” gambling experience. For just a $1 in most live casinos, and a penny when you play online, landing perfect cards with 8, 9, or 10 numbers called correctly can pay back a whopping 25,000 to 1. 

There aren’t many games out there where a $1 flier can bring back a cool 25 large, which is why so many gamblers don’t mind fading the long odds. 

Online keno provides players with more control over the proceedings, with no runners to wait for (or tip), and no delays on the draw. You simply choose your numbers, place your bet, and click “Play” to reveal the results of the draw. 

The best online casinos make multi-play keno a breeze too, with handy “Play 5” and “Play 10” buttons setting up 5- or 10-draw games automatically. You don’t even have to choose your own numbers either, thanks to the “Quick Pick” feature that randomly slots in 10 new numbers at random.  

Pros & Cons of Playing Keno Online for Money

Online keno doesn’t really differ all that much from the game played in casino parlors from coast to coast.

Unless you enjoy hanging around smoky casinos, waiting on runners that you’ll need to tip, and the other trappings of the live keno experience, transitioning to online play is a definite improvement. 

One of the main reasons online keno can be preferable to the live game is the sheer variety. Most brick and mortar casinos limit their keno selection to the standard 80-ball game, with little in the way of bells and whistles to make the experience more entertaining. You pick your numbers, submit your ticket, and watch the board to see if you won – wash, rinse, and repeat.

Playing online, online the other hand, provides access to the dozens of unique keno themes and variants shown below:

Online Keno Offshoots

  • 40-Ball Keno
  • Balloon Game Keno
  • Bonus Keno Jackpot
  • Bonus Spot Keno
  • Caveman Keno Plus
  • Circus Keno
  • Cleopatra Keno
  • Critter Country Keno
  • Crossroads Keno
  • Extra Draw Keno
  • Fire Ball Action
  • Fire Power Keno
  • Firefly Keno
  • Fremont Super Eight Keno
  • Golden Egg Keno
  • Golden Hits Keno
  • Grand National Keno
  • High/Low/Middle Keno
  • Instant Keno
  • Jackpot Keno
  • Jackpot Party Keno
  • Jumbo Keno Progressive
  • Keno Draw Poker
  • Keno Exacta
  • Keno Live
  • Keno Pop
  • Keno Universe
  • Klub Keno
  • Klub Keno
  • Krazy Keno
  • Last Blast Keno
  • Liberty Stars Keno
  • Luck of the Bonus Keno
  • Magic Keno
  • Power Keno
  • Super Keno
  • Super Keno
  • Super Spot Keno
  • Thunder Power Keno
  • Top Bottom Keno
  • Triple Diamond Keno
  • Triple Power Keno
  • Triple Trouble Keno
  • Tropical Vacation Keno
  • Turbo Keno

Several of these games are simply regular 80-ball keno centered around a fun theme, but in many cases, twists in the rulebook create something entirely new.

On the flip side, online keno players will find the game plays much faster than in a live casino. There, the action is drawn out through a draw that builds anticipation, with 20 numbers revealed over the course of two or three minutes. 

Playing online condenses that sweat into a few seconds, displaying all 20 numbers in a flash that can almost feel too fast. And when you’re playing a high house edge game like keno that involves heavy volatility, playing at that rapid pace can produce wild swings within your bankroll.

Best Online Keno Odds / RTP

Because online keno so closely replicates the live game – other than the haze of cigarette smoke and quiet despair – you won’t need to worry too much about operators adding little wrinkles of their own.

The best online keno games will feature a pay table that comes close to the standard version shown below:

Standard Keno Pay Table

CATCHES PAYOUT

10 out of 10 25,000 to 1

9 out of 10 4,000 to 1 

8 out of 10 1,000 to 1 

7 out of 10 140 to 1

6 out of 10 20 to 1

9 out of 9 25,000 to 1 

8 out of 9 2,500 to 1

7 out of 9 200 to 1

8 out of 8 25,000 to 1

7 out of 8 1,480 to 1

6 out of 8 90 to 1

7 out of 7 8,100 to 1

6 out of 7 400 to 1

6 out of 6 1,480 to 1

5 out of 6 90 to 1

5 out of 5 500 to 1

4 out of 5 15 to 1

3 out of 5 12 to 1

4 out of 4 50 to 1

3 out of 4 5 to 1

2 out of 4 1 to 1

3 out of 3 25 to 1

2 out of 3 2 to 1

2 out of 2 10 to 1

1 out of 1 2 to 1

Keno pay tables can vary wildly from site to site, so don’t fret if you see a few higher payouts alongside a few lower ones. So long as your online keno game adheres closely to the averages show up top, you’re in good hands. 

And if you want to be in the best hands, take your online keno bankroll to site which utilizes the Net Entertainment software platform for its games. 

As you can see in the comparison below, NetEnt’s online keno offerings create the highest overall payback percentage in the iGaming industry:

Net Entertainment (NetEnt)

CATCHES PAYBACK

1 75.00 percent

2 96.2 percent

3 94.35 percent

4 95.13 percent

5 95.24 percent

6 95.29 percent

7 95.38 percent

8 95.53 percent

9 95.58 percent

10 95.29 percent

Average 93.30 percent

 

Odds On

CATCHES PAYBACK

1 75.00 percent

2 92.09 percent

3 93.04 percent

4 93.79 percent

5 93.87 percent

6 93.79 percent

7 96.35 percent

8 92.9 percent

9 92.86 percent

10 94.54 percent

Average 92.85 percent

 

Playtech

CATCHES PAYBACK

1 75.00 percent

2 92.09 percent

3 92.96 percent

4 92.03 percent

5 92.58 percent

6 92.67 percent

7 92.44 percent

8 92.75 percent

9 92.00 percent

10 92.55 percent

Average 90.71 percent

 

Real Time Gaming (RTG)

CATCHES PAYBACK

1 75.00 percent

2 84.18 percent

3 83.25 percent

4 84.51 percent

5 84.10 percent

6 81.42 percent

7 85.16 percent

8 85.41 percent

9 85.03 percent

10 86.64 percent

Average 83.89 percent

 

Cryptologic

CATCHES PAYBACK

1 75.00 percent

2 72.15 percent

3 73.54 percent

4 73.79 percent

5 73.22 percent

6 71.61 percent

7 72.41 percent

8 72.71 percent

9 71.87 percent

10 72.35 percent

Overall 72.86 percent

On a final note, if variety is your goal, seek out the online casino operators that make sure to spread several different keno variants alongside the base game.

Types of Online Keno Bonuses

Online casino bonuses come in many shapes and sizes, beginning with the Welcome Bonus used to greet new players. 

Once you’ve signed up with a new site, take a peek at the Promotions page and look for the latest Welcome Bonus code. This information may also be found directly on the Deposit page, but either way, don’t forget to use the code to claim a significant sum in free funds. 

Welcome Bonuses offer a percentage match (typically between 100-500 percent) on your first deposit. Thus, starting out with a $100 deposit and a 300 percent match would put $400 in your starting bankroll. 

Later on, if you need another deposit to prop up your bankroll, the Reload Bonus uses a smaller match (25-100 percent) to provide another boost. 

And when you’ve put in the requisite volume to become recognized as a regular, most online casinos will send you a No Deposit Bonus as a surprise gift. You might need to earn a set amount of Player Points and redeem them, or just wait for an email notification letting you know your account balance just ticked up. 

For all forms of online gambling bonus, however, you won’t be able to simply withdraw the free funds straight away. That wouldn’t really be very fair to the operator, so they usually require a certain amount of wagering “playthrough” (also known as “rollover”) before your bonus funds are unlocked for withdrawal. 

A playthrough / rollover requirement will be expressed as a multiple (20x-30x for the most part) of the combined sum of your deposit and bonus. So with $400 from the example above, and a 20x playthrough / rollover requirement, you’ll need to place $8,000 worth of wagers to clear your bonus. 

That seems like a steep mountain to climb at first, but in reality, online keno players can cross the finish line rather quickly. 

Occasional big winners will subsidize losing cards, and luckily for you, online keno bets send the full 100 percent toward playthrough / rollover benchmarks. The only other game that does that are the slots, while skill-based table games like Three Card Poker (20 percent) and blackjack (5 percent) carry much lower wagering contribution rates. 

Real Money Keno FAQ

I know it’s a major longshot, but what are my odds of ever hitting a perfect 20 for 20 card playing keno?

Major longshot is a major understatement. In order to correctly select all 20 spots in a standard 80-ball keno game, you’ll need to overcome odds of 1 in 3,535,316,142,212,174,320. 

And no, the keyboard didn’t get stuck there, that’s a real number called 3.5 quintillion (and change). 

To put those ridiculous odds in some sort of perspective, consider this – you have a 1 in 700,000 chance of getting struck by lightning during your lifetime.

In terms of real money gambling game comparisons, the odds against triggering a Megabucks slot machine progressive jackpot – for $10 million at a minimum – stand at 1 in 49,836,032. The popular Powerball lottery offers odds of 1 in 292,201,338 so that ultimate longshot still offers odds that are 12 billion times better than scoring a 20-spot keno card.

Can I find any legitimate strategies that make keno a more beatable gamble?

Strictly speaking… nope. That’s because keno is a pure game of chance in which players have zero ability to influence the outcome. 

On the other hand, as the payback percentage comparisons for various online keno providers prove, game selection strategy is a great way to make a longshot bet look a little better over the long run. 

And if you want to improve your odds on any individual keno card, consider this. The payouts for landing a perfect 10-, 9-, or 8-catch card remain the same at 25,000 to 1 on average. But while you’ll face odds against of 1 in 8,911,711 when you chase 10 spots, a perfect 9-spotter “only” involves odds of 1 in 1,380,688.

Dial things back to an 8-spot card, and perfection comes with odds of 1 in 230,114. 

In other words, your odds to turn a $1 ticket into $25,000 are 38 times better when you shoot for 8/8 instead of 10/10.

What’s the best online keno game for winning progressive jackpots?

That’d be Bonus Keno Jackpot by Net Entertainment (NetEnt), which was listed earlier as the top online keno software in terms of overall payback percentage for the base game. 

When you play the Bonus Keno Jackpot variant, matching numbers will return the standard payouts. But whenever 10 symbols lineup just right to form a “J” symbol on the screen, you’ll trigger a five-figure progressive jackpot that regularly tops $75,000. Overall, the 88.5 percent average payback percentage on Bonus Keno Jackpot makes it a winner when compared to many other keno offshoots.

History of Keno

Gamblers today tend to take the concept of lottery drawings for granted, as games like Powerball, bingo, and keno have penetrated the social fabric over several centuries. 

But as it turns out, keno, as we know it today, is a direct descendant of the first lottery draws ever devised. 

Back in the early 200s B.C.E. during the Han Dynasty in ancient China, a warlord named Cheung Leung found himself in a precarious position. As the general of the Han armies, Leung was tasked with defending Chinese cities from attack by invaders from the neighboring territories to the north (modern-day Mongolia).

Years spent waging a brutal war of attrition from the “barbarian” hordes had depleted the Han kingdom’s gold reserves, but the general public was already being taxed to the brink. Seeking a solution to both problems, Leung vowed to end the costly invasions once and for all by building a wall – a Great Wall, in fact. 

Inspired by the “Thousand Character Classic” – a Chinese poem containing 1,000 unique characters each used just once – Leung created the world’s first lottery drawing. By taking the first 80 characters of the poem, and carving them into individual woodblocks, Leung came up with a game of chance that forms the foundation of modern keno, bingo, and lotto. 

Han citizens were advised that they could pay a few coins in exchange for a paper slip showing 80 characters. From there, players chose a set of 20 characters and submitted a copy of their slips – known locally as “white doves” because they were often sent via carrier pigeons – to government officials. 

Leung then had a servant tumble the 80 wooden blocks in a revolving “hopper,” from which 20 were drawn at random. Whoever submitted the white dove slip bearing the most matches was summoned to the royal court, where the lucky winner was awarded prizes such as livestock, tools, and other necessities in abundance.

Of course, just like in keno, most pai-ko p’iao (or “white dove lottery”) players wound up winning nothing at all, but they quickly became enamored with this new form of gambling. Knowing that you “can’t win if you don’t play,” Han citizens played pai-ko p’iao with such passion that Leung soon solved his dynasty’s money problems, leading to the initial construction of the Great Wall of China.

The white dove lottery became embedded in Chinese society, and by the 19th century a wave of immigration to California and America’s West Coast brought the game stateside. Californians quickly changed the name to “Chinese Lottery,” 

By 1866, with the construction of the First Transcontinental Railroad in full swing, an article in the New York Times mentioned a Chinese-inspired lottery game called “keno” had become all the rage in Houston, Texas.

Right around 100 years later, the first Las Vegas casinos were installing cushy keno lounges that resembled the bingo halls which were widely popular at the time. Modern keno players enjoyed brightly lit display boards to showcase the latest draws, transparent hoppers jumbling plastic ping pong balls that were drawn via vacuum tube, and “runners” to replace the white doves of old.