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Keno, Bingo and the Lottery: What is the Difference

Keno, Bingo and the Lottery: What is the Difference

Gambling has endured as a practice for as long as humans have been around. Records suggest that, ever since the ancient world, people have been wagering their assets on games of luck, skill, or physicality. Throughout our history, popular gambling games have come and gone. However, many have stuck around throughout the centuries to remain popular in casinos, on online gambling websites, and in community halls to this day.

Some of the most popular gambling games in 2023 include slots, poker, blackjack, baccarat, and more. However, when many people hear “gambling” today, the first game they think of is bingo. The game’s popularity has contributed to many similar games getting quite a bit of attention. Whenever somebody discusses bingo, mentions of keno and the lottery are not far behind. In this article, we would like to explore the differences in gameplay, strategy, and popularity between keno, bingo, and the lottery.

Game Descriptions

While many people like to group keno, bingo, and lottery together, the truth is that they are quite distinct from one another. While the games may have some similarities, they also have unique gameplay mechanics, characteristics, rules, and outcomes.

We could compare the concept to slots and video poker. While the games are similar, at the end of the day, there are two different game genres. Playing pokies is different from playing video poker, and just because you understand one, doesn’t mean you necessarily will get the other. None-the-less, most people have their favorite free pokie games, and their favorite video poker games, and the most important thing is that you get to enjoy playing them.

The same is true for keno, bingo, and the lottery. In this article, we are going to take a look at each game individually, briefly give a description, and at the very end discuss the differences and similarities that all three games might have.


Any player who would like to give keno a chance could find the game at most online and land-based casinos. Often called “lottery-like,” the goal of Keno is to pick numbers from 1 to 80 (usually). Then, the dealer randomly selects 20 numbers, and the winner is the person who has accurately guessed the most numbers.

At most land-based establishments the dealer selects the numbers using a bingo machine, which is just one of the many reasons why keno and bingo are comparable. At online casinos, however, the developers need to get creative. Which is why they use random number generators to create a random outcome.


Possibly the most popular of the three options, bingo is a social game that often involves gambling. However, that isn’t always the case. There are dedicated bingo halls around the world, specifically made for bingo. However, you can also find the game at online casinos.

The game works similar to keno. However, rather than choosing numbers, the players get paper slips with rows and columns of numbers. The dealer then draws numbered balls at random. The ultimate goal is to mark all of your numbers and win a bingo


Finally, lotteries tend to be government-regulated games, for which people can purchase scratcher tickets. The tickets have numbers written on them. If the numbers written down on your ticket, match the numbers that the lottery lists, then you’ve won a cash prize. The prize depends on the numbers, the country, and the lottery you are playing.

Typically, lotteries are government-run. The profits from said game often go into public services, such as schools, roads, hospitals, etc. The odds of winning the lottery are extremely low. However, there have been some notable cases and examples when folks have won pretty hefty payouts 

Similarities & Differences

As we are sure you’ve already gathered, the three games we are discussing are quite similar. However, you’ve almost certainly noticed the differences as well. To close this article, we would like to go over these similarities and differences, and help you better understand keno, bingo, and the lottery.


  • Random chance: The first similarity between the three is that they are all games of chance. In all fairness, that is nothing new, especially when considering popular gambling games. After all, slots, baccarat, craps, and roulette are all luck-based games.
  • Similar Structure: The structure of the three games is similar as well. Players have certain numbers, a dealer pulls out random numbers, and the goal is to match the numbers on screen to the numbers at your disposal.
  • Social Gaming Aspect: Perhaps lottery not so much, but both keno and bingo could be played as social games. While keno is much more often associated with gambling, there is nothing stopping a group of friends for playing it for fun. Even lotteries are often associated with social gatherings, especially with popular trends like “The office Christmas lottery,” not to be confused with the Spanish Christmas lottery, which is completely different.


  • Gameplay: One of the major differences between the three games is the gameplay. In Keno, each player chooses their own numbers, in Bingo and the lottery, the numbers are pre-written. Furthermore, the goal of Bingo is to create different patterns, such as lines, squares, or a full bingo. In Keno and the Lottery, the goal is to match the numbers to the ones that the dealer has drawn.
  • Prizes: Obviously, a major difference is the prizes that players can win at all of these games. Bingo is sometimes a social game, or played purely for charity. Keno is almost always a casino game. The lottery is government-funded, and almost exclusively doles out cash prizes.
  • Regulation: Finally, all three of these games have different regulatory measures. As we established, the lottery is almost always government-funded. In many places, it is illegal to run lottery games outside of the ones sponsored by the government. Bingo organizers as well need special permissions and regulation. In many US states, bingo is only legal as a form of church fundraising. Keno is almost exclusively a casino game, and you can only play it at licensed, regulated, and legal casinos, both online and offline.