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Is Keno Bingo?

Don't Get Mixed Up

Fancy a change from bingo? Why not give Keno a go?


Many people, even cultures think of the game Keno as being the same as Bingo. Many just think that it's a different name for a popular game. Which makes sense. I mean, different countries have different languages, and different names for different things.


The reality is that Keno is different game to Bingo. It's still a lottery like gambling game, and it's even played in some Bingo halls and in Casinos both in the UK and around the world, but there are subtle differences to it's premise.




Players can wager by choosing numbers from 1 to 80, similar to 80 ball bingo. After these wagers are made, 20 numbers are drawn by random. This is sometimes done using a similar machine to a bingo, or more commonly now, a digital random number generator. Each hall/casino can set it's own series of pay scale choices called “Paytables” and the player is paid based on how many numbers on their ticket match the numbers drawn. Depending on the wager, this payout will. Because the game can vary, the house edge is different in each casino/hall (this it the percentage that the house will make back based on average betting).


Keno itself means “Five winning numbers” (in Latin French roots), but the game is usually associated (and originated from) China.


Legend tells us that the game rescued a city in a time of war, long ago. The occupants of the city entertained themselves with Keno to get through the war time and break out the other side. The popularity of the game also helped to build funds to erect the Great Wall of China! Although Chinese lottery is not recorded in history books before 1847.


The game used to be played with sheets depicting Chinese characters (sometimes the first 80 characters from the famous Eastern poem, Thousand Character Classic, otherwise known ast the Thousand Character Text). Winning characters were then chosen, rather than numbers (imagine trying to spot out a Chinese character from the rest, without being raised in that culture!). Eventually the game was brought to Western regions when the original Transcontinental railroad was built in the 1800s. The name was changed into Boc Hop Bu, but seems to have reverted back to it's easier to pronounce roots over time!




The payouts in the game of Keno are based on how many numbers the player chooses, which are subsequently drawn. This is multiplied by a proportion of the original wager to the rate of the casino, table or hall. Although the probability of a player getting ALL 20 number is 1 in 3.5 quintillion! Put that in your pipe and smoke it! Although you're more likely to get 5 matching numbers than you are to get none. With odds of 1 in 4.2 for 5 and a mind scratching 1 in 848.3 for none! Odds change based on the number of spots on each ticket, but still. Crazy stuff.


Maybe it's best we stick to Bingo after all, hey?