What’s The Difference Between Keno And The Lottery?

What's the difference between keno and the lottery? Chances are if you've searched for keno at all you've come across something on the lottery — so let's explore the key differences between these very comparable casino games.


Keno and lottery games are two of the most popular options in online casinos and they definitely have one thing in common: luck is a big factor in whether you win or not.

There’s clearly more strategy in games like online blackjack, video poker, and even roulette as when you play keno and lottery, you’re mostly banking on Lady Luck lookin’ your way. You simply pick numbers and hope they come through for you.

While the two games are similar, there are some subtle differences between them. If you’ve viewed keno and lottery as virtually one and the same, here are three differences that highlight the small nuances in each.

1) It’s All In The Numbers

One of the first things you’ll notice when playing keno online or land versus the lottery is that you have more numbers to choose from with keno. Generally speaking, keno will present about 80 numbers for you to choose from while lotteries are anywhere in the range of 30-50.

You should also keep in mind that the amount of numbers you select differs. In lotteries, it’s mostly a fixed number. For example, it might be seven numbers that you have to choose from. However, keno can be anywhere from three to 20. That alone makes the games quite different.

2) Payouts Will Vary Greatly

Many people who play the lottery know the main selling feature: the payout. If you happen to connect on the numbers, you’re going to go home with some life-changing amounts. That’s the main draw – pun intended.

With keno, the game is structured a little bit differently in terms of pricing and tends to have a higher house edge. With lotteries, the game is quite rigid and if you hit the selected numbers, you win big. With keno, there are more ways to win, so you’re not going to get the same type of payouts.

stack of usd cash

Playing keno? Expect different payouts than the lottery.

Remember that with keno, you can select anywhere from three to 15 to even 20 numbers. That means that at the end of the draw with the random number generator, you’ll win based on how many numbers you got right. You’re also paid out on how much you wager to start.

For example, if you bet a $1 and only get $1 right in keno, you still might win something like a couple of bucks. Or if you get two numbers right, you could win $10. You can also earn a casino bonus to earn free plays, cash, or other bonuses (like a no deposit bonus), which lotteries don’t usually offer.

With a lottery, you’re not going to be winning much – if anything at all – if you only get one or two numbers right.

Think of lottery as having a higher risk and much higher reward. However, keno will produce more winners overall.

3) Speed Of Play

One of the biggest differences between keno and lottery is the pace of play. As a matter of fact, if you talk to someone who prefers keno over lottery, you’ll likely discover that they choose keno because of instant gratification.

When you play keno, you can get the results quite quickly. That’s because online, there are draws that happen every few minutes and you can find out how much you’ve won right away. However, with lottery, the draws are far less frequent. If you are into some of the bigger lotteries, you’ll discover that they only draw the numbers once or twice a week. That means that you’ll have to get your ticket and wait for the big draw to happen.

4) They’re Both Fun To Play

Most people who are into playing the lottery are also into keno and vice-versa, so you don’t have to be a maximalist and only play one or the other. The main thing is just to recognize the differences. While keno games have more winners and are played more frequently, lotteries have smaller chances of winning and are run less frequently, but have incredible jackpots that can really give you the life of your dreams. Playing both is the way to go as it gives you the best of both worlds!

Whether you’re looking to play keno and casino games for real money or just for fun, read our casino reviews to discover the best free games, bonuses, and everything else to get the most out of your online game.

Dave Consolazio

Dave Consolazio has been passionate about writing and sports journalism since his high school years. He has a degree in Broadcast Journalism from USC where he worked with the school's radio and television stations. His work has been featured in SportsbookReview, Sports Illustrated and SB Nation. Dave's experience ranges across multiple fields in the gambling industry. You can find his sports, casino, and poker articles in GambleOnline.co.

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