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Keno Rules

The basic rules of Keno are extremely simple: choose your numbers, check the results of the drawing, and hope you've matched some numbers. However, there are some additional considerations you should keep in mind, such as the way in which casinos choose the winning numbers, the important distinction of inside and outside tickets, and knowing how to collect your winnings. In addition, there are few basic terms used by casinos and Keno players that will bolster your understanding of the game's rules.

Learn The Main Rules


Often, the words "spot" and "pick" will be included in the title of a particular Keno game. These words will typically follow or be preceded by a number. This number indicates the maximum amount of numbers you may mark on your Keno ticket. For example, in a Pick-10 Keno game, you'll be able to choose ten. A 9-Spot Keno game will allow you to choose a maximum of nine numbers.

Within the world of Keno, "catch" is another word for a correct pick. The more catches you make in one ticket, the more money will you generally receive.

A "row" refers to a straight, horizontal line of numbers on a Keno ticket. For example, the numbers 41 through 50 make up one row of a Keno ticket.

A "column" refers to a straight, vertical line of numbers on a Keno ticket. For example, 6, 16, 26, 36, 46, 56, 66, and 76 make up one column of a Keno ticket.

A "spot" is a commonly used name for a number on a Keno ticket.

Inside Tickets and Outside Tickets

When playing Keno at a physical casino, it's important to understand the distinction between "inside" and "outside" tickets. An inside ticket is the ticket given to a player by a Keno Runner. The inside ticket is then filled out by the player and handed back to the casino employee.

After the inside ticket is processed at the Keno processing area, a second ticket, known as the outside ticket, is printed. The outside ticket is then brought back to the player by the Keno runner. The outside ticket will indicate the numbers chosen by the player, as well as their wager. It is then the player's responsibility to ensure that there are no errors present on the outside ticket. Any errors found must be brought to the attention of casino staff immediately, as they must be rectified before any numbers are drawn by the Keno machine. The winnings you earn will depend on the catches you've made on your outside ticket.

Keno Machines

The term "keno machine" refers to whatever method a casino, physical or online, uses to draw the winning numbers. Traditionally, this is accomplished by using a "Rabbit Ears" blower and numbered ping pong balls. Eighty ping pong balls, each numbered from 1 through 80 are blown about in glass bin. A casino employee then pulls a lever or presses a button, opening a pair of tubes that look similar to rabbit ears. Ping pong balls are then drawn one by one into the tubes. The balls are inspected by the casino employee, and the numbers are recorded into an electronic machine, typically a computer. The computer then displays these numbers throughout the casino, and calculates each player's winnings based on the number of catches present on their card, multiplied in some fashion by their wager.

Some modern Keno machines, known as "AKVs," eliminate the casino employee from the process. This sort of system still involves the Rabbit Ears blower, though balls are printed with a bar code instead of a number. After the balls are sucked into a tube, their bar codes are automatically read by a computer, and their corresponding numbers are displayed.

A "Hand Cage" is another method used by some casinos to draw winning numbers. With this method, balls roll around in a metal cage and land in a slot one by one, similar to a roulette table. The ball numbers are then verified by a casino employee.

For obvious reasons, the above methods are impractical and inefficient for an online casino. Instead, these will typically use a Random Number Generator, or RNG, to determine the winning numbers in a Keno game. As the name implies, this system basically consists of an electronic or computerized system that will choose numbers from 1 through 80 at random. Because of its speed, efficiency, and resistance to human or mechanical error, this system is becoming more popular at physical casinos as well.

Collecting Money

After enjoying the excitement of winning money by playing Keno, you'll need to know how to collect your earnings. At an online casino, this process is normally totally automated; any winnings you receive will be deposited directly into your account.

You'll need to make a couple of additional considerations, however, when playing Keno at a physical casino. Before playing, it's important to know how long you'll have to collect your winnings before your ticket becomes invalid. At some casinos, you may need to claim your ticket within that same day, possibly even within an hour of the ball drawing. At other casinos, your ticket will be valid for a full year after the game has taken place. In any case, it is absolutely imperative that you hold onto your outside ticket. Casinos will generally not be sympathetic to players who win at Keno but then misplace their ticket.

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