.Who wouldn’t enjoy hearing trivia about their favorite games? Let’s look at one casino game in particular: keno.
Where did keno originate and how did it evolve?
Origin of Keno
A man named Cheung Leung is credited with having invented keno in China about 2,000 years ago. A city was at war and the residents were getting tired of it (sounds familiar?). They refused to give money to fund the army. Leung saved the day (and the city) by creating a numbers game that people could play. This game was keno. Because players had a chance to win a lot of money for a small bet, the game became an instant hit. Through keno the army obtained the funds needed to win the war and the city was saved.
The following years saw Leung’s game spread throughout China. The Chinese had always been fond of games and gambling and keno appealed to them everywhere. But history proved a second time that keno could be more than just a game. To repel the invading Mongols, the empire used revenue from keno to finance the building of the Great Wall. Now keno saved not only a city, but the whole country. A shining moment in gambling history indeed!
Original Keno Format
Keno was known was the “White Pigeon” game since these birds were used to report winning results throughout the areas where it was played.
Originally, keno used Chinese characters instead of numbers. Leung used the first 80 characters of a famous poem widely popular in China. This ingenious poem used 1,000 characters without repeating a single one. It was used to teach children to read and write; it was also used as a counting system.
Keno in the United States of America
Keno was imported into the United States by Chinese immigrants. Unfortunately, gambling laws were strict and the game had to be modified several times to get around these laws. Keno underwent a number of name changes. At one point it was referred to as a horse racing game when horse racing but not lottery was legal. Numbers were also substituted for Chinese characters to avoid confusing western players. Today keno is played legally in land-based casinos as well as online gambling sites.
Gambling history shows us how our favorite casino games developed. We hope you enjoyed our overview of the origin of keno. Play online keno today!