History Keno

The word «keno» has Latin or French origin. From French language «quini» means « 5 winning numbers ». However, despite of the European name keno originated in ancient China.

Thus, according to one of the existing legends this gambling appeared during the reign of famous Han dynasty (few centuries B.C.). Moreover, its emergence allowed pretending some ancient Chinese city from a war. Keno appeared to be so popular in ancient China that Chinese dynasty spent money gained thanks to the game on the construction of the Great Wall. Though it’s unknown whether it is true. For example, lotteries as a charity were prohibited in modern Chine for a long time.

According to the official opinion of most historians keno as a lottery appeared more than 2 thousand years ago in China. The emperor of Han dynasty skillfully managed to make citizens finance the war without regular taxes. He gave a chance to win prizes by paying to get winning combinations selected from a list of 120 different Chinese hieroglyphs.

The first approximate data about the game goes back to 1847. Lotteries were given an official status by Portuguese government of Macao colony. Soon, at the end of the 19 th century Chinese immigrants brought the game to America. It was considered to be a Chinese lottery. At first the game was simplified to eighty characters and then to eighty figures being more clear. In the middle of the 20th century people started to call the game « Keno horse racing » to make the game more interesting as if each number was a horse chosen by the player to bet on. Thus, the player chose figures he wanted to bet on.

It is known that in 1866 keno became one on the most popular casino gamblings in Texas. Over time the rules were obviously changed. At first, paper with Chinese hieroglyphs was used for the game. Then hieroglyphs were replaced by standard numbers in the West. Nowadays the game process is computerized being adapted for online casinos.

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