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The History of Keno
  Blog Category - General
The History of Keno

Keno, also casually known as the Chinese lottery is a very ancient game that was first introduce by Emperor Chéung léung as a way of raising money for supporting the army. This original game of guessing character consisted of 120 characters and was subdivided into eight sections. If the gamblers lost one subdivision then they lost three more. If they gained one then they won ten more. This guessing bingo game was very popular and the ancient Chinese government was able to reinstate their army after just ten games were played.

This game was also played in rural areas and referred to as “The Game of The White Dove” as doves were trained to carry the news from village to village of which characters had won. The game was usually played once in the morning and once in the evening.

In modern day China this casino game is called the Thousand Character classic. Eighty characters are chosen from a thousand characters and arranged in divisions on a card.  Ten characters make up one division. Players can wager whatever amount of money that they like.

The name "keno" descends from a form of bingo or Lotto popular in the USA in the 19th century. Chinese immigrants who immigrated during the Gold Rush in California brought this game to the United States and Canada. Many of them found no gold but instead ended up as laborers for constructing the North American continent’s many great railroads.

Keno, in its modern form, is like a lottery or bingo Instead of Chinese characters it is played with numbers. Unlike bingo, the keno player picks the numbers for his or her ticket, marks them and then gets a receipt for them. Keno cards have 80 numbers; the keno player can pick as many numbers as he or she wants (although some casinos will limit this to 15 numbers.). This is done by circling or marking a casino ticket with indelible ink or a special marker.

After the player will then watch either a "keno board" that displays the winning keno numbers or watch a video monitor showing the selected numbers. After the winning numbers are displayed and the player figures out if any of the numbers on his or her keno ticket matches up with the winning numbers. If so the keno ticket needs to be immediately taken to a cashier and cashed out before the drawing for the next game begins or the ticket may be declared void. 

Lottery versions of Keno are also very common around the world. These lottery style games are also used by governments to raise money for all kinds of purposes and often referred to as “idiot tax” as the odds of winning big for any one player are really low. These games are offered daily or weekly and the winning numbers are usually published in the newspaper or announced on the radio and television. One of the most successful Keno lotteries in the world is located in Finland.

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