Keno Game History

This article provides an overview of the background and history of today’s popular casino game, keno. From ancient China to a personal computer, the history of keno is steeped in legends.

This fun game of chance has rather an interesting and rich history. It is believed that the roots for the game of keno lie in ancient China. The background story of keno tells of a community leader Cheung Leung who initiated this form of lottery thousands of years ago. Leung desperately needed to raise money in order to strengthen his army. It is told that in an attempt to find an alternative method of raising money to raising taxes, the keno game of chance was created.

Basics of Original Keno Game

With the intention of saving his city, Leung invented a simple game of fortune and luck. The original version of keno offered a choice of 120 Chinese characters to its players. Similar to a modern form of lottery game, players purchased tickets in order to play the game. As the traditional game of keno featured Chinese letters, players could make a choice according to meaning or personal significance. It is interesting to note that in the early games of keno, the outcome of the game itself was reported by carrier pigeons. This is how it earned the additional name of the ‘white pigeon game’.

Keno Brought to the West

Keno found its way into the U.S. in the 1900s together with Chinese railway workers that entered the country at this time. The traditional use of Chinese characters was soon altered to numbers in order to provide a wider general appeal for the game in the United States.

Horse Race Keno

An interesting change in the name of the game took place upon its introduction to the casino scene. During the 1930s there was no authorization for the lottery to be present in the casino. In order to find a way for keno to be featured in the casino, it was renamed as ‘horse race keno’ and was therefore not officially recognized as a lottery. At a later stage, changes were made once again as U.S. government taxes were placed on off track horse racing. The name of horse race was quickly withdrawn from the game to avoid paying the tax and the name of keno was restored.

History of Online Keno

The mid 1990s saw the introduction of the first of the best online casinos to the Internet. Top casino games were modernized and adapted to make them suitable for online play. In this regard, keno was no different and was soon transformed into an online pursuit. In the online version of the keno game, players may select a range of between one and twenty numbers from a choice of eighty. The online form of keno provides the player with the comfort of playing from home at a gamer’s convenience. Although the game seems to have traveled a long way from ancient China, online keno is still based on the early and popular keno game.

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