In Virginia, You Can Now Play Keno Nearly 24/7

Written By Martin Harris on August 5, 2020 - Last Updated on August 26, 2020

There is a new game for lottery players in Virginia.

On Monday, the Virginia Lottery launched its new keno game, giving lotto players a chance to play a drawing game at practically any time of day or night.

The keno game also comes with an eye-popping $1 million top prize.

Keno brings frequent drawings, multiple ways to win

The introduction of keno brings the highest-frequency drawing game the VA Lottery has ever had.

A new keno drawing takes place every four minutes, and drawings are almost 24/7. The only breaks come during the half-hour between 1-1:30 a.m. each day for occasional system processing.

You start by picking up a keno playslip from any of the 5,300 Virginia Lottery retail locations around the state.

Filling out the slip requires four items:

  1. The number of spots to play (from one to 10).
  2. The amount of the wager (from $1 to $10).
  3. The number of consecutive draws to play (from one to 20).
  4. The numbers selected from one to 80 (must be same as number of spots listed in step one).

For example, say you pick four spots, wager $2 per draw and play five consecutive draws. The cost of the ticket would be the wager amount ($2) multiplied by the number of draws (five), bringing the total to $10.

Then, you would pick five numbers from one to 80, and turn in the playslip. You receive a printed-out ticket that lists the selections and which drawing(s) you are playing.

For each drawing, 20 of the 80 numbers are chosen, and you hope that some or all of your numbers are drawn.

You can watch the drawings on keno monitors at many Virginia Lottery retailers or at the Virginia Lottery website where you can also check previous drawings.

Long-shot odds to win the $1 million prize

To have a chance at the top prize of $1 million, you would have to play the “10 Spot Game” (all 10 spots) for the maximum $10 wager. All 10 of the chosen numbers must then appear among the 20 chosen in the drawing.

The VA Lottery’s published odds state that’s a 1 in 8,911,711 long shot of hitting all 10 numbers in the “10 Spot Game.”

Besides the $1 million prize, you can win anywhere from $1 to $5,000 for every $1 bet. You can even win a small prize for picking zero numbers correctly, if picking at least six spots.

The overall odds to win range from 1 in 2.8 (in a seven-spot game) to 1 in 16.6 (in a two-spot game).

Virginia can compete with neighboring states

The introduction of keno in Virginia comes two weeks after West Virginia launched a similar game in July. In West Virginia, Keno Go features a top prize of $100,000.

VA Lottery officials had been considering adding keno since 2017 when North Carolina added the game.

The North Carolina Education Lottery previously introduced Carolina Keno late in 2017. During its first seven months, keno added over $28.5 million in sales in NC, then another $42 million during the fiscal year ending June 2019.

Just like in WV, North Carolina’s keno game also features a top prize of $100,000.

The new game arrives about a month after Virginia considerably expanded the selection of games players can play online.

While keno cannot be played online, players can purchase Powerball and Mega Millions tickets, play Cash4Life and play other instant-win and electronic scratcher games online.

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Martin Harris

Martin Harris is a writer and teacher who has reported on poker, online gambling, and sports betting since the mid-2000s. Once a full-time academic (Ph.D., English), he currently teaches part-time in the American Studies program at UNC Charlotte. His book Poker & Pop Culture was published by D&B Books in 2019.

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