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7 Reasons Why You Should Avoid Keno


Keno was once so popular that it had its own area and lounge. Nowadays, keno isn’t even available in some casinos. Walking into a casino, you’ll find that keno lounges have been replaced by slot machines and sportsbooks. And I have a theory about why this happened.

Perhaps gamblers have finally figured out just how evil keno games are. So, they suit playing keno and started playing other options that aren’t quite so terrible.

But keno is still available in some casinos, so you need to know how bad the game is so you aren’t tempted to play. Here are seven reasons why you shouldn’t play keno.

1 – You Lose Even When You Win

I used to play quite a bit of keno because I had a chance to win $10,000 or more for $1. But I finally figured out that I wasn’t ever going to match all of my numbers.

In fact, the few times I got lucky and matched a few numbers, the small return I received wasn’t even close to enough to make up for all the times I lost. This is what I mean when I say that even when you win, you still lose.

I cover this in more detail in another section, but the first trap is the low cost of making a keno wager. And to be fair, when you play traditional keno in a casino the game doesn’t play very fast. When you only play four to 12 draws every hour and only risk $1 on each draw, you don’t risk as much as when you play most other casino games.

This means that you usually lose less during the same time frame playing keno than you do playing other casino games. The other games play faster and/or require higher wagers.

2 – The Illusion of Control

When you play keno you can pick your numbers or let the computer automatically pick your numbers. Most keno games use a pool of 80 numbers, and you can pick a set of numbers based on the rules of the individual game.

The ability to pick your own numbers is a device used by casinos to give you an illusion of control. Some keno players track the results and try to pick numbers that are due to come up. Some players even believe that they can get an edge doing this.

But the truth is that you have no control and you’re not going to improve your chances of winning based on studying past results.

With a pool of 80 numbers, you can’t access enough past information to make accurate predictions. And even if you could access enough numbers, the only predictions you can make are based on the next 1,000 or more draws.

This is why you can’t profit from trying to use past results to predict future draws. And this is just 1 more reason why keno is so evil.

3 – Bonuses Work Against You

Mobile and online casinos love to give bonuses to keno players. The casinos know that keno players eventually lose all of their money, so anything the casino can do to get you to make a deposit is putting money in their pocket.

The problem with a keno bonus is that you don’t get access to the money for anything but playing keno until you play a set amount of games risking a set amount of money. The casino knows that you’re going to lose the bonus and likely all of your deposit before you meet the requirements of the bonus.

To make matters worse, bonuses make some gamblers deposit more than they originally intended to deposit. They see they can get a bigger bonus if they deposit more, so they don’t think about how likely they are to lose more.

4 – $1 Bets

I briefly mentioned this earlier, but the biggest trap of keno is the fact that in most places, you can still play for only $1. This makes many gamblers think that it’s only $1, so what’s the harm?

I admit that a single dollar isn’t going to be the difference between eating and not eating or paying the rent and not paying it for most people. But the fact is that it’s still a dollar. And when you play 100 keno games at $1 each, that’s still $100.

So, the question shouldn’t be about how much you can buy with $1. The question should be, what can you buy with all of the money you waste playing keno over the course of a month or a year?

If you want to risk a stray dollar on a keno game every once in a while, then that’s okay. But don’t make it a habit. It’s not just $1. It’s a combination of all the dollars you’ve ever risked on a keno game.

5 – A Real Strategy Doesn’t Exist

I’m going to tell you a secret that can help you pick the best games in the casino to play. If you can find a real strategy to use for a casino game that helps improve your chances of winning, the odds are that it’s a better option than most other games.

This also means that if a casino game option doesn’t have an available strategy, it’s not a good option. Keno falls in this category. You can’t use any type of real strategy to alter the outcomes of keno games because a strategy doesn’t exist.

Yes, you can find keno systems for sale that are supposed to work, but the truth is that these systems are usually just scams. They don’t work, and they’re just designed to take your money.

6 – Video Keno Is Even Worse

I mentioned that traditional keno games have been eliminated in many casinos. But some casinos have introduced video keno machines. And these machines are even more evil than regular keno.

The odds of winning are usually the same on video keno machines as they are on regular keno draws. The problem is that video keno machines let you play far more draws in the same amount of time.

This is the same problem with playing mobile or real money online keno games. It’s not that you have a worse chance of winning than when you play traditional keno. In fact, some online and video keno games have better odds.

But you can play 100 or more keno draws in an hour on these machines and online, where traditional keno usually only as four to 12 draws every hour. In other words, you can risk $12 or less an hour playing traditional keno and $100 or more per hour playing video keno.

Keno is a truly bad casino choice, but when you play it electronically, it becomes even worse. You should never play video, mobile, or online keno games. They simply cost too much to play.

7 – The Worst Game in the Casino

Keno isn’t the worst gambling activity in the world. It’s really not even close to the worst game. But it’s almost always the worst game offered in an in-person casino. Most lottery games are much worse than keno if you’re wondering whether there are any other options.

Take a minute and think of other games in the casino. I can almost guarantee you that any game you can think of offers a better return and odds than keno.

Keno games usually have a return to player percentage of 75% or worse. Some of them are as bad as 60% to 65%. This means that the casino keeps between 25% and 40% of every dollar that gets bet on keno.

Slot machines can have a payback percentage as low as 85%, but this is still much higher than keno. And table games usually pay back 95% or more. Some video poker machines and some blackjack games pay back over 99%.

Pick any other casino game and you’re going to have a better chance to win than when you play keno. This is true in live casino play, in mobile casino play, and when you gamble online.


You can pick your own numbers when you play keno, but this doesn’t improve your chance of winning. In fact, even when you get lucky and hit a winning set of numbers, the odds are it’s not going to be enough to make up for all of the previous keno losses you have.

Even online and mobile keno bonuses work against you. Instead of giving you free money to play with, it encourages you to deposit more.

You can’t use strategy to improve your chance of winning when you play keno, so it’s going to continue being the worst game in the casino.

Michael Stevens

Michael Stevens has been researching and writing topics involving the gambling industry for well over a decade now and is considered an expert on all things casino and sports betting. Michael has been writing for since early 2016. …

View all posts by Michael Stevens

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