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Keno history

Keno History – The Origins of Online Casino Keno

A wonderful combination of lottery and bingo, Keno and more recently online keno has captured the imagination and won the hearts of gamers world over.

Where Did it Begin?

The exact beginning of the game of keno is hard to pinpoint as it was never specifically documented. However, there are several traditions or myths that pertain to reveal the origins of the game of keno that would in modern times become the online keno game. One opinion states that Cheung Leung of the Chinese Han Dynasty was familiar with a game very similar to the modern keno, and even that he may have introduced the game - that would have been around about the turn of the second century BCE. Supporters of this theory claim that particular scrolls maintain that as a result of war and siege, Cheung's coffers were running low and disgruntled with the war effort his citizens were unwilling to contribute further to his ventures. In order to raise funds therefore he created this game of chance. The success of the game that he created was so intense that it soon spread throughout the whole of china, and in fact, it is reported that Keno playing had a part in raising revenue for the Great Wall of China. Keno continues to play its part in Chinese history, where it is also known as the White Pigeon Game after the carrier pigeons who would carry news of the winning numbers.

Was It really Keno?

In essence, yes it was really keno just as we see with internet keno today, however there were some differences. In most cases this early keno game would have letter representations rather than numbers, and it is believed that the original keno game may have had up to 120 characters. The transfer to modern keno and online keno that is familiar to us today with its 80 characters occurred only when keno left China.

How Did Keno Find Its Way West?

The most likely means that keno had of finding its way from the East to the West was via immigration from China to America. It may have been somewhat familiar to the western world through trade movements in earlier centuries, however with the en masse immigration to the USA of which Chinese immigrants made up a significant amount; keno really found its foothold in the West.

And That's The End of The Story?

Not quite. During its early years in America keno was very much a Chinese game, known as the "Chinese Lottery", and illegal. But remember at this stage the keno game was still using the Chinese characters. This all changed towards the close of the 19th century when numbers were introduced to the game.  In 1931 with the legalization of gambling in Nevada, the game could no longer be referred to as a "lottery" and so was dubbed "Horse Race Keno".

When legislation passed that taxed off-track betting the pretence of the numbers being horses was no longer useful, and the name was changed to simply "keno".