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History of Keno

The history of keno is quite an old history indeed. Some people believe it was first introduced by Chéung léung of the Han Dynasy in China around 200 BC. Chéung's city had been at war for many years, and they were lacking funds to keep supplies and troops up. Keno was apparently born out of his necessity to increase funds to the army, as the city's rulers were unable to do so through taxes due to massive resistance from the populace.

They thus set up a game not unlike keno that involved guessing characters to gamble their property and money. They created a fixed method that ensured that they won much more than they lost. This involved using 120 characters for the game at large, and eight characters for each subdivision. If a player of the game lost one subdivision, they lost three li of property. If they won a division, they gained ten taels (worth significantly more). This tempted the masses greatly, as they were able to wager so little with the prospect of gaining so much. After only ten days of holding the game, it is said, they had already gained 1000 pieces of silver, and after a few decades, the wealth generated from the game was immense, enabling a tremendous boost to the army, and supposedly saving the city.

The game quickly spread through China, and was apparently used to help fund the construction of the Great Wall of China.

The name given to the game was "The Game of the White Dove." This was because during the period that the game was first established, there were often great distances between each house, and between each town. This made communication difficult, and as everyone was anxious to know the result of their game, doves were used to spread the message of the winning characters more quickly.

The history of keno doesn't go anywhere for quite some time after this. It is theorized that Chinese immigrants eventually brought the game to America when they helped construct the railroad in the old west. Although it was illegal, it was extremely popular among Chinese immigrants, and it became known as the Chinese lottery in US cities. It didn't gain much popularity among North Americans until an English version was invented, where the many characters were replaced with 80 numbers. Although illegal for many years, that didn't stop people from playing it.

When Nevada legalized gambling in 1931, lotteries were still not legal, so the name was simply changed from "Chinese lottery" to "horse race keno". When off-track betting was made illegal, Nevada shortened the name to keno. To this day, keno is a popular game in casinos throughout North America, and with the raise of online gambling, keno has made a successful splash on the Internet. The history of keno, from this time forward, may be written in cyberspace.

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