Is keno like lotto?

The game of keno was originally known as the Chinese lottery, and many similarities are apparent when one compares keno and lottery games. We take a look at these similarities, and also detail the differences between the two very casual pub and club games.

About Keno

Keno has been around for thousands of years, often thought to be the game of choice during the Han Dynasty. It features 80 numbers and players pick from one up to 10, 20 and sometimes even 40 if available. The results are determined and players are paid in accordance to how many numbers, or spots they have guessed correctly.

Keno can be found at land-based casinos in a live format – a dealer will draw out the numbers from a keno machine – and at pubs and clubs via Random Number Generator (RNG) software.

If you want to know more about lotto, you can simply click one of our links on the side of the menu panel to learn all you need to about the lottery games conducted in Australia.

Random Number Generator software

All lottery draws in Australia rely on RNG software to determine the outcomes. There may be the presence of a human dealer – especially for the draws which are televised – but they simply read the numbers which have been dispensed via the RNG software run machine. This software is completely random as it is a requisite by law. RNG software is also used for keno games, but of course you will be playing keno games which are fair and properly randomised.

Cash prize payouts

Just like land-based keno, keno offers paytables – a list of what you can win in accordance to the numbers played. Aussie lotto games also offer this, referring to the the paytables as prize divisions. There is generally around five to six prize divisions for lotto played in Australia (Division 1 offers the biggest prize).

The amount of correct numbers picked

Both games rely on picking the right numbers to win and both see bigger payouts for the more numbers guessed correctly. For example, Tatt’s Saturday Lotto requires six winning numbers to win the Division 1 prize, while a minimum of one or two numbers plus the two supplementary numbers score you the Division 6 prize (the smallest available).


Both keno and lotto games offer players the chance to utilise the QuickPick feature. This is where your numbers (you choose how many) are randomly picked for you so you don’t have to spend time filling out the form or clicking the numbers in. You may want to manually do it if you have special numbers, but QuickPick does speed up the entire process.

High house edge

Both lottery and keno games have an immensely high edge. Land-based lotto is said to have a house edge average of 50%, which is incredibly high. Land-based keno has around 20% to 35%.

Differences between keno and lotto

There are quite a few differences between lotto and keno, with both style of games offering their own benefits as well as drawbacks.

Amount you can win

The prize pools available for lottery games are incredibly large, most offering jackpots in the millions or tens of millions. What’s more, there are special seasonable draws which generally offer eight figures too, which players can participate in. Keno doesn’t offer nearly as big of a prize pool.

Pace of the game

Lottery games in Australia are drawn on certain days, for example on Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday. You cannot change or choose the draw times or play whenever you want to, which ultimately means you can’t speed up or slow down the draws.

Number of games

There’s just the one draw each week for each game when it comes to lottery games. For example, there’s just the one draw for Monday Lotto, the one for Wednesday Lotto, and the one for Saturday Lotto.

Keno keno on the other hand allows you to play as many games as you want in the one sitting. Pick your numbers and the games will be drawn for you, and you can repeat this process until you’ve won big or perhaps need a break.

As you can see there are both similarities and differences between the games, but the best thing to remember when playing either is they are both games based on pure luck – which is indeed the definition of a lottery.

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