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Keno vs. the State Lottery

To the Casual observer, there may not be much a difference between playing the lotto and playing keno. On the contrary, many people may prefer to play in the lottery, since it is more readily available and does not require you to go to a casino in order to play it. And there really are some similarities between the games. In Keno, you select between 1 and twenty numbers out of eighty. In the draw, twenty numbers are drawn at random. In the State Lottery, the players usually choose six numbers, while seven numbers are drawn, with the seventh drawn as a bonus numbers.

There are differences in the prizes as well. Lottery payouts are low because of State taxation, as well commissions to the retailers who sell the lottery tickets and the cost of running the lottery. In California, for example, the payouts are adjusted, with fifty per cent of the money is paid back to the players. This is the equivalent of a 50% house edge in Keno, which most players would consider criminal.

If you look at the odds, it is far easier to win more and to lose less at keno than it is to do the same in the State Lottery. If you guess 3 out of six in Lotto, then the prize is five dollars. However, the odds of guessing correctly three numbers out of three in keno are almost identical, and in most casinos, the prize for 3 out of 3 is $42!

While we hear about the big prizes in the State Lottery, sometimes as much as hundreds of millions of dollars, we tend to forget that the odds of hitting it big in the State Lottery are almost nil, and you have to get over that 50% house edge. However, although the casinos do win most of the time, even in keno, there are indeed players who win more or less consistently, and there are those who win enough to retire. It is all a question of risk, but in keno you have a larger chance of winning for a lower amount of money than you would in the State Lottery.

Written by Marc Duperey, Correspondent.12.12.05