What is Keno

Keno, game of chance played with cards (tickets) with numbers in squares, usually from 1 to 80. A player marks or circles as many of these numbers as he wishes, up to the maximum allowed, then hands in or registers his ticket and pays according to how many numbers he chose. At regular daily intervals, a total of 20 numbered balls or pellets are drawn at random from a container and prizes are paid by the house according to how many of each player’s chosen numbers are drawn.

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History of keno games

Keno is of Chinese origin and great antiquity, dating back at least 2000 years. The original Chinese name for the game is baige piao or pai-ko p’iao, meaning “white pigeon ticket”, a reference to the tickets used in a betting game involving home pigeons. From around the 3rd century BC, baige piao games existed in most provinces in China, usually organised by one or more gambling houses with the permission of the provincial governor, who in turn received a share of the profits.

The original ticket used in baige piao, and still in widespread use in Chinese communities where the game remains popular, contained the first 80 characters of Qianziwen (“Book of a Thousand Characters”) instead of numbers. This classic of Chinese literature, by an unknown author, contains exactly 1,000 Chinese ideograms (or characters), all different, and is so well-known among educated Chinese that these characters are sometimes used instead of the corresponding numbers from 1 to 1,000.

Baige piao (or pak-a-pu as it became known in the West) is not only the ancestor of keno, but also of lotto and bingo. Keno arrived in the western AFS (USA) in the 1840s with Chinese immigrants. Around the beginning of the 20th century, the game became popular among non-Chinese groups in the United States of America under the name Chinese Lottery, where the characters were converted to numbers. At the time, it was also named keno, a corruption of the French word quine (“group of five”). In 1933, keno was introduced in gambling houses in Reno, Nevada, under the name Race-Horse Keno, with names of horses instead of numbers on the tickets so as not to conflict with state lottery laws. These Nevada laws were changed in 1951, making keno a numbers game. Today, keno (with many daily drawings) is played in almost all US casinos, as well as in many casinos in Australia, South Africa, South America and East Asia. The house edge in casino keno is significant – approximately 25 per cent. Keno is also offered as a game (usually with weekly drawings) by many lottery companies around the world.

How to play KENO?

  • Fill out a KENO game form with the number of spots (numbers) you want to play per game. Choose between 1 to 10 spots.
  • Choose how much you want to bet on each game: €1, €2, €3, €4, €5, €10 or €20. Bet more, win more!
  • Choose how many games in a row you want to play: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 10 or 20.
  • Tick your numbers from 1 to 80. Or tick “Quick Pick” and let the computer randomly pick your numbers for you. The number of numbers you select should correspond to the number of spots you chose to play. (Example: If you select “4 spots” in section 1 of the play slip, you must select 4 numbers in section 4.)

Remember: If you choose to purchase a quick pick, tell the retailer how many numbers you want for each game, how much you want to spend per game, and how many games you want to play.

  • Select the Bonus Multiplier option (BONUS MULTIPLIER) for a chance to multiply your winnings. The Bonus Multiplier doubles the total ticket price and multiplies any winnings won by the bonus multiplier number (BONUS MULTIPLIER) selected for the game. The Bonus Multiplier (No Bonus Multiplier, 2, 3, 4, 5 or 10) is randomly selected just before each drawing. 1,000,000 is the maximum prize per play on any KENO game ticket with the Bonus Multiplier, regardless of the amount wagered.
  • KENO tickets cannot be cancelled; once printed, there is no way to cancel it. Be sure to check your ticket carefully after purchase to make sure it is what you have requested.
  • A win occurs when the computer matches some or all of your numbers (spots). It’s even possible to win a cash prize if none of your numbers are drawn (see 10 and 9 spot games).
  • To play your numbers again, give the Lottery retailer your existing KENO ticket and simply say, play “REPLAY”. You will get a new KENO ticket with the same numbers and bet amount. Your new ticket will have the replay “R” printed on it.

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