Origins of Keno

It is thought that Keno has its origins in China. Cheung Leung from the Han Dynasty is said to be the founder of the game.  At the time it was founded Cheung Leung’s city found itself in the middle of a war and the city was desperately in need of resources and funds had to be raised in order to save the city.  Extra taxation was not the answer, but Cheung Leung came up with a solution.  They would raise funds for the city using the lottery style game.

Keno at the time was based on a Chinese poem which could help others to learn around 1000 Chinese letters.  At the time the game did not have all of the letters and 250 were used and this was further reduced to 120.  The game was designed in such a way that the letters were divided in groups of 8 and in order for a player to win they would have to get all the letters in a group correct.  The story goes that carrier pigeons were used to spread the results of the game to all the towns where the game was being played.  The game was known as “Game of the White Pigeon”.

Some think that Keno has Latin or French roots. Quine in French means five winning numbers and in Latin the word quini means five each.

In later years Keno helped to raise the necessary funds to assist in building the Great Wall of China, but many people think this is just a legend as this story has no historical basis as well as the fact that Chinese Lottery was not legal until the 1800s after the wall was built.

Modern Keno

The game of Keno as we know it today was brought to the US by the Chinese during the Gold Rush era.  The game caught on quickly and became very popular.  Gambling was not legal at this time and Keno players had to meet in secret and it was during the clandestine Keno games that many changes were made.  The Chinese symbols were replaced with numbers which made it easier to understand and the numbers were reduced to 80.

Keno players now had to pick between 4 and 10 numbers and the player who drew the numbers had to randomly pick 20 out of the 80 numbers.  When the game made its way to Nevada the game had to change as lottery games were illegal.  The name was changed to Horse Race Keno and each of the numbers represented a horse so the cover of a horse race was used to get around the illegal lottery game.  When lottery was legal the name was changed to Keno.

Online Keno

Luckily for Canadian players Keno was soon available to play at online casinos and is very popular.  When playing Keno online everything is done digitally such as matching the numbers and if a player wins their account is credited with the amount.  Playing Keno online is very easy and the rules of the game are the same.  For Canadian players Keno online is much cheaper and the payouts are larger.

The origins of Keno go way back and the game has gone through many changes since the beginning. For Canadian online casino players Keno is now much easier to access and can be played on the go at any time of the day or night.