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How to Place a Keno Bet

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Many people avoid playing keno because the play slip looks a bit complicated. This is just not necessary. Placing keno bets is actually a simple matter. Keno betting isn't really complicated at all.

To place keno bets, all you have to do is pick your own winning numbers and then mark them on tickets called pay slips. Then you take the slip to a teller, who provides you with a printed verified receipt for your choices (after you pay for it of course).

Keno cards have eighty numbers. As a keno player, you can pick as many or as few numbers as you wish. These numbers are marked on a piece of paper, which is typically called a keno slip.

Keno Bets - Keno BettingIn a live casino, you pick a keno wager by circling or checking the 80 numbers printed on the slip with an indelible marker. Once your numbers are picked you take your marked up ticket to a teller who hands you back an authorized copy or computerized receipt that replicates your number selection. Note that this teller is called a writer if you are playing in a UK casino.

In both American and UK casinos, the number of numbers that you select on a keno ticket is often referred to as a spot. For example, a player who marks a keno ticket and picks 8 spots on a $4 ticket would be playing a $4 - 8 spot ticket. If you choose 30 numbers at $5 each, you would be playing a $5 - 30 spot ticket and so on.

The Keno Lounge

In a live casino, there is usually a keno lounge where you go to watch the numbers play out on a screen of some sort. Sometimes this is a selection of video monitor; sometimes it is a billboard with flashing number. In a keno lounge, you will find a cage with an employee in it as well as markers and keno slips. Also, these slips are sometimes called tickets in the United kingdom.

At the bottom of the keno slip there will also be a space for you to write out how many numbers you have chosen. You also will write what amount you want to bet. This is to prevent any disputes on sloppily marked cards.

You might wonder how this could possibly be a problem, but in Europe some keno games are called so fast that there is little time to mark up your card between callings.

North American Keno Wagers

In North America, you generally mark up the ticket with a black writing instrument called a crayon or an indelible marker. However, there are some casinos in Las Vegas and in Europe that still use the old fashioned brushes and India ink. These have been used to mark Keno tickets since 100 B.C., the century when the game of keno had its start as the Chinese Lottery.

Collecting Your Money

It is always a good idea to verify the numbers you have chosen to play with the writer. You should do this before you leave the teller window to avoid disputes. Verification is important, because if you win big, the casino will go back through their records to make sure that the numbers match. After your numbers are verified, you will receive a hard printed out copy of the numbers you have chosen.

Once you have your copy or receipt of the numbers you have chosen, you simply wait for everyone else to receive receipts for their play slips, as well. The casino attendant will then announce that the game is “closed”.

The numbers are chosen using balls marked with keno numbers, which are dropped into a hopper and blown around by air or calculated onscreen by a random number generator.

If you have a losing ticket for a game and you want to play the same ticket for the next game, you don't need to mark numbers another blank ticket. You can just submit the losing ticket to the dealer, along with your wager. You then will be provided with another “clean” computerized receipt.

You can also play a ticket that pays off again and again. You are usually well taken care of in keno lounges as the employees often ask you if you would like to play again every time you hand in a losing ticket.

It is of utmost importance you must cash in your winning keno ticket promptly after the game is over. Try to get it to the cashier’s window before the next draw begins. The rules about this vary from casino to casino, but in the U.S. tax law requires winning tickets to be cashed immediately after the game or else your winning ticket could be declared null and void. This law comes from the fact that the casino could claim unclaimed tickets as some sort of tax write off.

Online Keno Betting

Online casino versions of keno are much simpler. You simply point and click on a web template to choose the numbers that you want. In this case, you will also probably be betting with tokens that are cashed in at the end of a run of keno games, rather than cashing in after each game. The numbers are also not dropped into a drum and rotated as is common in a live casino, but rather selected by a piece of software called a random number generator.

National Keno Lotteries

Keno is also offered as a National Lottery all over the world. The game is particularly popular in Canada, Finland and the U.S. state of Florida.

In this case, you fill out a ticket and provided with a computerized receipt. The winning numbers are then announced on television and published in the newspapers. Depending on the country you can place a wager on these tickets or a pay out schedule determines the winnings. Usually these types of lotteries are played on a once daily or weekly basis.

You can read more about keno bets at the Wizard of Odds.

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