Keno vs Chinese Lottery
There is actually no difference between Keno and the Chinese lottery since Keno’s origins can be traced back to China. Keno was created 3000 years ago by Cheung Leung, who a Chinese general during the Han Dynasty. Cheung Leung had no other political methods left to take the money of the citizens of his city, so he invented the Chinese lottery as a means of getting their money. Gambling served as a fun alternative to the taxes that his people were annoyed of paying and it provided him much-needed money in order to fund the war.
Cheung Leung borrowed 120 Chinese characters from “The Thousand Character Classic,” an ancient Chinese poem, in order to create the game. Those 120 characters were laid out in the form of a lotto board and up to 10 bets could be placed each player. The origin of the “keno spot” can also be traced back to there since the “spots” of each player were marked using a pen.
Following its success and spread to other villages, the game became known as “White Pigeon” because white pigeons were used to transport the results to bettors in faraway locations. Money to build the Great Wall of China many years later was also raised through the game. It took quite some time for the Chinese lottery to evolve into the Keno that is played today, which uses 80 Chinese characters, numbers or spots instead of 120.
It was back in the 1800s when the Chinese lottery was licensed. Keno was brought to the United States by Chinese immigrant railroad workers in the 19th century. It was known as the Chinese Lottery back then and since most Chinese immigrants were concentrated in San Francisco, it gained the most popularity there.
To enable English speaking people to understand and participate in the lottery game, the Chinese characters were changed to numbers. Even though gambling had been legalized in 1931, lotteries were still not legal and so, the Chinese Lottery was also illegal back then.
The origin of the name Keno can be traced back to “Race Horse Keno,” the new name that was given to the Chinese Lottery in order to combat the illegality issue. The game was then played under the guise of horse racing betting, with a horse representing each number in the game. This is the reason rounds of keno are referred to as “races.”
It was not until the 20th century that lotteries were legalized, allowing Keno to return to its original form and wound up in brick-and-mortar casinos. Back then, they would write the 80 numbers on pieces of paper and put each piece of paper in a separate tube. They would then draw 20 out of those 80 tubes and then announce the winning numbers. Eventually, they started using peas, which were wooden balls with numbers carved into them.
The first legal keno game was available at Warren Nelson’s casino that was opened in 1936 and that was where keno took on the form of a cage with numbered balls rotating in it. Eventually, computer generated keno surfaced, in which 80 spots are featured and the computer draws 20 numbers every couple of minutes. Usually, a form has to be filled out and handed to a bar attendant if the machine is in a pub. Unfortunately, the computer generated game did give players enough room to create their own game and that is when software developers began creating online keno games that players could control.
Online casinos had already popped up by the time the Internet was introduced in the late 20th century and software develops decided to create keno games that could be played on computers from home. Online keno sticks with the 80 numbers format of Chinese Lottery or keno, but variants of the game are also available today. Although the numbers are still generated automatically by a computer or software program, but the games are usually no longer linked around particular States. Instead, the games are linked to online operator and software developer, so players can control when the computer draws the numbers. In addition, players do not have to fill out any forms.
Today, keno can even be played on smartphones and tablets as well. However, the fact of the matter is that despite the evolution, keno is still the same game that was once called the Chinese Lottery and it is still a form of lottery, regardless of where you decide to play it.