Keno has a long and storied past in the gambling world. From its origins in China, keno made its way around the globe. Nowadays, it’s featured at online casinos and offered by lotteries.
In Virginia, you can play keno via the Virginia Lottery.
Here’s the basic rules of keno and where you can play in the commonwealth.
A quick guide to playing keno in Virginia
Virginia is one of just a handful of states that allow online sales of lottery tickets and drawings. The Virginia Lottery, however, does not allow online purchases of its core keno game. Players can, however, play a different version of keno online.
Like other gambling games, keno comes in various formats. Most use the same rules. The Virginia Lottery offers one standard keno game with drawings every 4 minutes (barring any service periods). To play, you need to visit a participating retailer and fill out a play slip.
When playing keno, you select one to 10 numbers between 1 and 80 (no repeats). The more numbers you select, the more you can possibly win. The drawing will reveal 20 numbers.
You win when your selected digits match some or all of the 20 numbers revealed in the drawing. How many numbers you must match to win depends on how many numbers you selected. More matched numbers generally result in higher win totals. Several games, though, reward prizes for matching no numbers.
The maximum keno prize in Virginia is $1 million.
Where to play keno in Virginia
As mentioned above, you can play the Virginia Lottery’s core keno game only at a Virginia gambling retailer that offers the game.
Filling out a play slip can be intimidating at first, but the process is surprisingly intuitive. Once you have your play slip, follow these steps:
- Select the number of spots you want to play, between 1 and 10.
- Choose the amount of your wager. This is the amount you’ll bet per draw, so it will be multiplied if you’re playing for many consecutive drawings. You can wager between $1 and $10 per draw.
- Pick the number of consecutive drawings you’d like to play. Options are 1-5, 10, 15 and 20. The cost of your ticket will be the wager amount multiplied by the number of draws you select. For example, a $3 wager for 10 draws would cost $30.
- Choose your numbers! You can also select Easy Pick, marked “EP” on the play slip, to have the system choose numbers for you.
Bring your play slip to the cashier or the lottery vending machine to print your ticket. You can check drawings online or on screens at participating vendors. The Virginia Lottery app lets you scan your tickets to see if you’ve won.
Players can play Instant Keno Multiplier online
Want a quicker game you can play online? The Virginia Lottery offers Instant Keno Multiplier. Unlike the Lottery’s core keno game, you can play this one online, and it’s instant. The ticket price is 25 cents to $20, and the top prize is $500,000. You can demo the game online before you play for real money, making it a great way to learn the basics.
Instant Keno works almost exactly the same as the core keno game with one key difference: stars. Once you select your numbers, a star symbol will be placed on three of the remaining numbers at random. If two or three numbers with stars are selected in the draw, your prize will be multiplied.
Instant Keno Multiplier gives you 1 in 5.46 odds to win, with odds on the top prize at 1 in 4,07 billion.
Can you play keno anywhere else in Virginia?
As of this writing, the Virginia Lottery is the only keno provider in the state. However, there’s speculation that Virginia might push to legalize online casinos in the future.
Should that happen, there’s a strong chance Virginia online casinos will offer mobile keno games.