Keno started in China, and the game was brought to the United States by Chinese immigrants in the late 19th century. Originally played with 80 Chinese characters, these were replaced by 80 Arabic numerals when the game became popular in the United States.
For a time in Nevada casinos, each number was accompanied by the name of a racehorse, and the game was known as racehorse keno. The horses’ names disappeared in 1951, as operators didn’t want their game mistaken as horse betting when a tax was placed on off-track betting on horses. However, vestiges of racehorse keno can still be seen: many casinos call each keno game a “race”, and if you bet on more than one game at one time, you buy a “multirace ticket”.
Although the game still remains more popular in the United States than in Australia, many casinos have keno lounges, where numbered balls are forced out through an air blower to determine the winners. Keno is a fun and exciting way to gamble, but keep in mind that the odds aren’t good!