Keno’s History for Keno Lovers

If you love keno, we have a special treat for you because we want to talk about the history of this game that has become so popular and widely spread. Let’s take a look at how it all started and how it keeps going strong to this day.


Featured image Kenos History for Keno Lovers Origins - Keno's History for Keno Lovers

The more likely origins of the game dates back 3000 years, when the Han Dynasty was ruling China, as an answer to the high demanding needs of trying war times. The emperor decided that creating the game of keno was the perfect way to raise funds without taxing the people any further and its use was even extended to funding the Great Wall.

The current game is played with 80 numbers, but the first versions featured over 100 Chinese characters. Nowadays, the Chinese still use these characters, although they have also reduced the number to 80.

Arrival at the Western World

Featured image Kenos History for Keno Lovers Arrival at the Western World - Keno's History for Keno Lovers

By the start of the twentieth century, some Chinese sailors took keno to San Francisco. They were the ones that decided to change the Chinese characters into numbers, to be able to gamble with the Americans they were just meeting.

Although the game was an immediate success, it wasn’t considered legal and keno lovers had to get creative with ways to prevent getting caught playing keno. Since horseracing was legal back then, they called it keno horseracing and kept on doing this until lottery games were legalized and casinos could offer the game by its name. The game has had an interesting evolution from being a tool to raise funds to fight a war, built the Great Wall, being illegal, and finally being so common everybody loves it. From Chinese characters to western numbers, this beloved lottery game is here to stay as it not only endures the test of time but also excels it.