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It’s a common and recurring misconception bingo lovers can’t help but remain baffled by; the one innocent friend who still asks that question – ‘isn’t bingo and keno the same thing?’

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Despite some fundamental similarities in concept and origins, bingo and keno are two very different games. For those confused on their differences, we’re going to break it all down and explain how bingo and keno are played and how they are won.

A Number’s Game

First thing’s first: the handling of numbers and betting in both games are completely different. Bingo has players buy printed cards at a set cost (which means wagers are fixed) with numbers laid out in a random order, with every card different from the other.

The cards in bingo are also only valid for one game, and players also don’t have any choice as to what numbers are on the card – they’re pre-determined before the game rather than selected by the player. One thing bingo players can choose is how many cards they decide to buy and play each game.

On the other hand, Keno players are allowed to choose and mark their numbers on Keno forms, usually anywhere between 1 and 20, from the total available. Players also have the choice to bet what they want on each game, and how many games each set of their chosen numbers can be played.

Betting Differences

In Bingo, numbers are drawn at random. The caller ceases to draw numbers when a player calls “Bingo” with a full game card covered, which signals the winner. There is typically just one winner, as the pre-determined numbers on the card ensure they are always different.

Bingo and Keno DifferencesKeno’s numbers – typically 1 to 20 in live games – are drawn and because up to 20 numbers can selected by the player rather than randomly given, more than one player can win with the same numbers.

Keno is also generally more involved than bingo as several unique bets can be made in addition to standard bets, such as Way Bets – sets of numbers on a ticket.


When players win bingo, their prize awarded by the bingo hall depends on the numbers covered. A full bingo card covered (“Full House”) is a typical win, as is complete rows and columns of numbers. Depending on the operator, side jackpots or additional prizes can be awarded.

Seeing as how keno players can choose their own numbers and several can win (with equal opportunity) with the same said numbers, the game employs a set payout structure to ensure an equal payout.

Which Game Is Better?

With similar premises but different processes, it’s up to a player’s individual mood or preferences to determine which game – bingo or keno – is the one of them. Many bingo enthusiasts love keno just as much as their favourite, and it goes the other way, too.

If you prefer to rely on your own luck and something more relaxed, bingo is your game as it’s straight-to-the-point; buy a pre-determined numbered card and wait and see if luck pays off. If you prefer relying on your own lucky numbers to win, keno is the one for you.

Ultimately, both games are equally as fun to wager and win real money – but just be sure not to confuse one with the other in front of die-hard bingo players after reading this article. They’ll never let you forget it – a certain editor here on can back that grief up.

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