Online Keno. The Numbers Game That’s Simple But Exciting

Matt Bastock

Updated by Matt Bastock

Editor

Lee James Gwilliam

Fact Checked by Lee James Gwilliam

Senior Vice-President

Last Updated 9th Feb 2024, 11:36 AM

From Ancient China to virtual draws with online keno results, Keno is a game that spans centuries. But what is it, why is it so popular, and where can you play online Keno for real money in New Zealand? I provide all these answers and a few more below.

Where to Play Keno Online in NZ

The place to play the national NZ Keno online is of course directly on the official lotto NZ site at mylotto.co.nz. This daily keno game is officially licensed by the Gambling Act of 2003, with keno specific regulations that can be viewed on the Department of Internal Affairs website. 

If however, you’re looking for a place to play other types of Keno games, then you will find a few online casinos featuring small selections of Keno games. From the sites I’ve reviewed, this is my list of the best Keno casinos:

Affiliate disclosure: At Casinos.com, we want to ensure that players are matched with the right casino and sportsbook offers for them. For this reason, some of the recommended site links are affiliate links. This means that if you visit a website through our link and make a deposit, Casinos.com will receive a commission payment at no extra cost to you.
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What is Keno?

Simply put, Keno is a numbers game. It’s a lot like lotto, or bingo. And the simplicity of how it works and the prizes on offer, combined with the excitement generated by the expectation to see which numbers come up, draw thousands of keen Kiwis to Keno.

The Keno game was invented in China under a different name. It was called báigē piào, which is Mandarin for "white dove tickets". Why? Because the keno results in those early times were sent by pigeons from the cities to the outer villages!

In the 19th century, travelling Chinese construction workers introduced keno to the West. The name was Westernised into puckapu but this didn’t stick. Instead, people started calling it ‘quine’, which in French means "five winning numbers". Quine eventually became Keno.

I said the game is pretty simple, and it is. To play online keno for real money, you need to buy at least one ticket with up to ten numbers. You select your spots (that's what your numbers are called in Keno) from 1 to 80. Then, using a device approved by the Authority (which can be either a Keno Hopper (an official ball-drawing device) or a computer-based random number generator) the operator draws twenty winning numbers. That’s it. If you match the minimum required or more numbers, you win (in some Keno games, the minimum is 3 numbers, in others it’s 4).

Trivia: Legend has it that the invention of the game saved an ancient Chinese city in time of war, and its widespread popularity helped raise funds to build the Great Wall of China.

Different Versions of Keno

While Keno is as simple a game as you can get, there are still a few variants running around. The core of the game is still the same, but there might be a few tiny differences in the quantity of numbers you can select per draw, the type of multipliers allowed, the minimum or maximum betting amounts, as well as the frequency of draws. In New Zealand, players can enjoy these various forms of Keno online, including the New Zealand National Keno (with keno results from 4 daily draws published online), Live Dealer Keno, and various online Keno games with variations on mechanics and themes.

New Zealand National Keno

New Zealand's state-run National Keno is super popular with Kiwis. The Keno lottery can easily be played online at My Lotto. You just need to register an account, then log in between 6.30 am and 11.30 pm to buy Keno tickets and take part in 4 daily draws. The prizes are drawn at specific times: 10am, 1pm, 3pm and 6pm (NZ time).

Live Dealer Keno

Live Dealer Keno is an exciting twist on the traditional Keno game. It offers players the opportunity to play with a live dealer who oversees the draw and interacts with the participants through a video stream. Live games provider Ezugi has one such game, although it is not available at every live casino in NZ. Live dealer Keno does add a touch of authenticity to the experience.

Online Keno Casino Games

Casino game makers jumped on the keno bandwagon and started creating standalone keno games that you can enjoy 24x7, as long as your internet connection is running that is! These keno variants all use a built-in random number generator (RNG), a software that ensures fair draws. The beauty of these keno variations are the added value of special features in some, as well as a lot more flexibility than you get with classic Keno.

Keno Variants Offered By Online Casinos in NZ

  • Bonus Keno by NetEnt combines the simplicity of traditional Keno with a progressive jackpot prize. For a chance to win the full jackpot prize, you will need to play with the maximum bet, which is NZ$5 (using the minimum bet could get you 20% of the progressive jackpot prize). The game lets you choose the numbers manually, or you can let randomness decide by using the automatic mode. The game also has a bonus level, triggered by 5 joker symbols. During this level, all wins are doubled.
  • Amaterasu Keno is a Japanese-flavoured keno variant which let me bet from $0.10 and $5.00 per game. Developed by Mascot Gaming, this game comes with line multipliers, manual or automatic number picking, and free games. You win if you match more than 4 numbers. The largest payout of the game comes if you manage to guess all 10 numbers, with which you’ll grab 100000 times your bet!
  • Book of Keno by Evoplay takes a twist on traditional Keno, presenting you with a choice of 36 numbers instead of the custom 80. You can select up to 10 numbers, and then wait for the draw. If any of your numbers match, you get a win.
  • Lightning Box Keno features 4 fixed jackpot prizes on top of the normal keno payouts. You need to pick between 3 and 10 numbers on each draw. Drawing 6 or more Lighting Balls activates a special bonus feature called a Lightning Respin. During this round, you win extra prizes as Lightning Balls are converted into wins. Here you have the chance to win one of the 4 jackpot prizes. There are also Colossal Symbols in the game. These appear randomly and split into multiple prizes.
  • Keno Draw by GamesGlobal (originally created by Microgaming) is built around simplicity. You can select between 2 and 10 numbers for each draw, and you can do this manually or with a random automatic feature. The game uses 80 numbers like traditional Keno, so there’s much less confusion here. The one additional mechanic that Microgaming included in Keno Draw is the ability to set the volatility level of the game, which is quite neat.

Playing Keno on Mobile Devices

Nothing will stop you from playing Keno on the go. You just need an internet-enabled device such as a tablet or smartphone. Open the browser on the device, and browse to the national Keno lottery site if playing the state Keno, or to your preferred NZ online casino if you're after one of the many video Keno games available online. That's it. Play as you would on any computer.

What's even better, is that both the NZ state lotto and some Kiwi casinos have native casino apps for Android or Mac which make it fairly faster to get to your games. So, no more fixed locations for you. Playing Keno on mobile devices is convenient. Thanks to the portability of these devices, you won't miss a draw, wherever you are in New Zealand.

How Much Can You Win When Playing Keno?

Depending on which Keno game you’re playing, wins can range from small to significant. It often depends on how much you’re wagering and how many numbers you manage to match with those drawn. Needless to say, the more numbers you match, the bigger your prize. With some Keno variants, you could even hit a jackpot, increasing the potential payouts significantly. For instance, Bonus Keno includes a progressive jackpot prize which can become quite hefty over time.

If you take a look at the NZ national lotto portal, you’ll find that Kiwis often grab handsome payouts, some even as high as NZ$ 250,000.

Meet The Author

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Matt Bastock
Matt Bastock
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Matt Bastock is a Content SEO at Casinos.com. He has years of experience researching, writing and editing articles about sports and gaming, including the world of online casinos and sports betting. Matt enjoys playing many casino table games, especially poker and blackjack. He also loves watching professional sports, particularly English and European football, as well as US football, rugby and cricket.

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