From Prism News

Five Fun Facts: Keno

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When Clark Griswold had lost everything thanks to a vicious blackjack dealer and a run of bad luck, there was only one game that he trusted to get it all back on track: keno. Whether you’re a fan of Vegas Vacation or not, there’s just something about keno that makes it a great choice for players looking to win big. The simple lottery-style game has come a long way from its humble beginnings in ancient China, and, today, it’s one of the most popular options for online players looking to transform a small bet into big time winnings. Like slots, keno is exciting because of the ever-present possibility of a jackpot win, but its casual and relaxing pace gives it a much different type of atmosphere.


While keno may not be the first game that comes to mind when you envision a trip to the casino, there’s no doubt that it’s an old favorite throughout the industry. Since you may be unfamiliar with the details of this popular game, let’s take a look at five interesting facts about keno.

1. A Game with History

While most casino games can be traced back to European roots, keno is unique in that it was created in Asia. Historians believe that the game was originally created by a man named Cheung Leung more than a thousand years ago as a way to raise money. The original game consisted of 120 Chinese characters that were part of an ancient poem.


2. A Great Impact

Obviously Cheung Leung’s experiment was successful, as his game is still enjoyed by thousands of people around the globe. However, it may surprise you just how successful it proved to be for ancient China. According to historical evidence, funds raised from keno played an instrumental role in financing the construction of the Great Wall of China.

3. Crossing the Sea

Keno originally made its way to the U.S. way back in the 1800s via Chinese immigrants. These immigrants, who arrived to work on the railways, continued to enjoy the game in its original form until a major change was made. In order to gain wider appeal among people who didn’t speak Chinese, the original Chinese characters were replaced by simple numbers.


4. Welcome to the Casino

Keno originally made its way into U.S. casinos in the 1930s. However, due to regulations barring lotteries within casino walls, operators were forced to employ inventive measures. The game was transformed into ‘Horse Race Keno’ for years until new laws were placed on off-track races. At this point, keno reverted to its original name in casinos across the country.

5. Long Odds

In modern keno, players can choose up to 20 numbers, but hitting on all 20 is practically impossible. The actual odds for this result are about 1 in 3.5 quintillion. No player in recorded history has been able to accomplish the feat, and that fact is unlikely to change anytime soon.

Keno is a relatively simple game with an impressively unique history. While hitting all 20 numbers is incredibly unlikely, your odds of winning a tidy sum aren’t nearly as long. Take a trip to ancient China on your next casino visit, and you could be on your way to a big payday!

Andy Cunoi

Andy is a common guy with an uncommon passion for blackjack. Currently he lives in San Francisco, California. Andy enjoys writing about gambling. Loves a simple life and his writing reflects that. He also enjoys music festivals a lot.