Russian Roulette Has Better Odds Than This Casino Game
You walk into almost any casino and you will see a keno lounge complete with a comfortable seating area in front of the large electronic playing screen. It is definitely a slow paced game and offers a chance to down a beer and relax. But, is keno a good bet?
In keno you have 80 numbers to choose from on your keno card. These correspond to the 80 numbers on the screen. You decide, based on rules of the casino, how many numbers you want to bet on. Usually, you can pick from 1 to 20 numbers, but more often 1-15.
When each game begins a keno worker will turn on a clear box filled with the balls, numbered 1-80. The balls will be blown around by air currents and be forced out a tube where it can be easily retrieved. As each ball comes out and is called by the keno worker, the board will light up that winning number. This process continues until all 20 numbers are called.
To win anything, you have to have a certain number of your chosen numbers match those that were called. You can bet $1 per card or higher amounts.
The payouts will vary by casino. For example, if you bought a $1 ticket and picked 6 numbers to play and you caught 3 of them, you would win $1. If you got 4 numbers, you would win $2. But, if you caught all 6 numbers, you would take home a whopping $2000.
When you do the math, is keno a good bet? No. The house edge will vary from casino to casino based on their own rules, limitations, and payouts. Over all though the house edge is most likely close to 30%-35% according to various sources. This is why we said it might be better just to write a check to the casino and try something else.
Of course, you could be the first person to hit all 20 numbers. Then you would be rich. The odds are only 1 in 3,535,316,142,212,173,800.000. So, in reality, you would probably get hit by lightning a hundred times before you would ever hit all 20.
Here is a good way to look at it. This example is reported in an article from Casino Insider:
If every person now alive played one keno game every single second of their lives, there would be about one solid 20 jackpot-winning ticket to date. If all these possible keno tickets were laid end to end, they would span the Milky Way galaxy—and only one of them would be a winner. To this day, there are no reports of a keno player lucky enough to match all 20 numbers.
You can read more here.