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The history of Keno

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Keno's origins can be traced back to a Chinese lottery called “The Thousand Character Classic”. An ancient poem was said to be the basis of Keno. The most unique aspect of the poem is that it has a thousand rhymes that are never repeated. The purpose of this ancient game was to aid the children in learning the thousands of characters that they were required to write and read at that time.

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In ancient China, Keno first started as a very popular nursery rhyme. Cheung Leung, a legendary Chinese general was credited as the inventor of the Keno game. The general created the game by employing the first 120 characters of “The Thousand Character Classic” as part of the permutation. The winner is the one who managed to guess the sequence of numbers correctly. The correct numbers are denoted by the ancient way of writing through brush strokes. Legend has it that even the Great Wall of China was funded partly by the profit the ancient Keno counterpart.

The ancient Keno lottery game divide the 120 characters symbol into 8 sub-categories. The Emperor would then draws the combination randomly at least 2 times daily. In a nutshell, the mechanics of this lottery game is: the players will lose in 3 further bets if they lose in 1 sub-category. Conversely, for the winners in 1 sub-category, they would then carry on to wins 10 or more bets.

Since the 1800′s, keno was also known as the “White Pigeon Tickets.” Pigeons were widely used to deliver the draw results to the outlying villages hamlets, that was how where the name came from.

With the rise in popularity of this game, General Cheung Leung and his army gain huge profits and eventually they were reinstated back into the government.

The ancient incarnation of Keno was also labeled as “idiot taxes”. The term was coined by the ancient scholars for the reason that the profit from the lottery game was used to fund the army and its military exercise. Therefore, instead of directly taxes the citizen, the state fool the people into playing the game and hand over their hard earned money voluntary by betting on the thousand characters.

The ancient Keno lottery game is still very much alive in present day China. Any form of gambling is prohibited in China but the people still carry on playing the Chinese version of Keno twice a day just like they have always done since thousand of years ago. The difference is, instead of one thousand characters, the modern game used only 80 characters which then sub divided in to 10 characters per category.

Keno was brought into North America by Chinese immigrant in the 19th century during the gold rush. The Keno lottery game then spread throughout North America and was especially popular in Nevada and California. Nowadays, this game has evolved into one of the most popular gambling game in casinos and online gambling websites all over the world.

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