A Brief History of Keno

Keno Keno’s first name was “Chinese Lottery.” Indeed, that’s what it was when developed in China about 1000 B.C. Legend has it that keno financed the building of the Great Wall. Keno tickets are in two sections, numbers l through 40 in the top section, and 41 through 80 in the bottom sec- lion. This reflects the Oriental “Yin and Yang” division. The game was introduced to the United States by Chinese immigrants in coastal ports around the turn of the century, with 120 Chinese characters to choose from that were painted on maple balls. But keno was a lottery, and Nevada law—even after gambling was enacted— forbid lotteries. So the name “Chinese Lottery” got changed to “Race-Horse Keno,” as a clever deception by using the names of then famous race horses along with the actual numbers.

Then the U.S. government passed a law taxing off-track betting, and the casinos—-afraid they might get their “yin” in a “yang”~— changed the name again. Since 1951 the game has just been called Keno. In the United States, it’s only legal in the state of Nevada; you won’t find it in Atlantic City or anywhere else. Like all other casino games it has been completely Americanized.  In fact if you look online now, there’s loads of variations on the original game although these variants are not for purists!  You can try out these computer versions in a few online casinos for free – try our favorite – play Keno online real money.

It’s strictly a numbers game now, using 80 high-class ping-pong balls and a thingamajig called a “goose” that sucks up 20 of the balls at random. It is an easy game to play, it is cheap, and you’ve got an outside chance of winning $50,000. One big drawback to keno is trying to keep from nodding off to sleep while the game gets underway. One tourist said that playing keno was “like watching somebody iron a T-shirt.” and it has to be said the game is not for everyone.  Try out a roulette sim or free to play game

The object of the game is to try to guess which 20 of those 80 numbers is going to pop up on the keno board. You don’t have to guess all 20, either. Pick one for $3, and if it shows up you win $9. Pick two and one won’t win anything, but both will get you $36. Get eight out of eight and pocket a cool fifty thousand. These are called straight tickets. There are also split tickets, way tickets, combination tickets and special tickets. Information on all of them is available at your friendly neighborhood keno parlor. The game is so simple, and the payoffs are often time so stupefying, that it seems there is no way to lose. Om- fourth of the 80 numbers come up in every single gain; get eight of the 20 of the 80 and win a fortune. Nothing to it. Nothing to it?

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