Gambling Guide: History of Keno

Keno is a game steeped in history. Therefore although we can’t necessarily prove whether or not any of the popularly believed stories about the history of Keno are correct, they are still fascinating. Keno History – Origins of Keno It is believed that the game of Keno originated in China in around 200 B.C. Cheung Leung of the Han dynasty has been credited with the game’s invention in popular history. China was in a state of almost constant war at this stage in history, and it is believed that the residents of Cheung Leung’s city were refusing to contribute any more money towards their army’s war fund. In order to generate some income in order to be able to provide for his army and protect the city, Cheung Leung invented a lottery-type game for the citizens to play. The game was so successful that the city was saved. 

The game then spread throughout China and it is claimed that some of the funds generated were used to help to build The Great Wall of China. The original game of Keno is believed to have been different from modern Keno in that players chose Chinese characters rather than numbers. The characters were the first 80 in an ancient Chinese poem known as The Thousand Character Classic. The Thousand Character Classic consisted of one thousand individual Chinese characters and was used to help Chinese children learn the meanings of the characters in the complex Chinese language. Therefore the Chinese were essentially betting on words and ideas rather than on numbers. The ancient Chinese version of Keno was not known as Keno, but it is believed that it became known as The White Pigeon Game because carrier pigeons (or doves) were used to notify players in surrounding villages of the results of the game being held in their nearest city. 

Keno History – The Development of Modern Keno Keno was introduced to America by Chinese immigrants, who were working on the railroads in the nineteenth century. In order to allow non-Chinese speaking Americans to join in the game, they eventually changed from using the Chinese characters to using numbers. The game became known as the Chinese Lottery. The game became increasingly popular, and by 1931 it had been introduced to casinos in Nevada, primarily as a way to get around the strict gambling laws, which still did not allow lotteries.

Casinos disguised the game as a horse racing game, claiming that the numbers represented individual horses and players were simply betting on which one would win. They changed the name to Horse Racing Keno, although it was sometimes simply known as “the racing game”. However, the horseracing link was later removed by the casinos in order to avoid the need to pay off-track betting taxes. As a result, the game became known simply as Keno. History of Keno – Keno Today Today, Keno is becoming increasingly well known and is offered in casinos not only in its earlier form but also in the form of Video Keno on machines that used random number generators to decide the winning numbers. Keno is now also becoming increasingly popular in sbobet casinos and is also featured on television. If you want more information about online casinos offering Keno, why not check out our Where To Play Keno and Top Keno Sites pages?