P. Edronkin

A Brief History Of Keno

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In my opinion, governments are necessary evil, but little else; you can't certainly run a country without a government, but any government running a country, if left unchecked will soon try to overrun it. The behaviour of a government - if compared with that of a human being - looks more like the deeds of a schizophrenic than anything else. But of course, like madmen, governments can and usually do take rational decisions; the question is rational for what? And what results may that produce in the end?

There is a game known as Keno; probably many people know it in some way or another, but this is the latest name that it has had since it was invented over two thousand years ago in China. It is indeed, the proverbial 'Chinese lottery' game, and its development went on par with government madness in the world at large.

Soon after it was invented, the Chinese imperial government saw its potential as a cash cow, so they allowed what other wise was considered immoral - gambling - just because it suited them to finance the construction of the Great Wall and a couple of military expeditions here and there.

It is also noteworthy to mention that the construction of the wall that allegedly can be seen from space was achieved also for the teamwork and spirit of a couple of hundred thousands workers who willingly and voluntarily accepted not to die while they were being forced to go across China and work in the construction of the wall. To a limited extent, they were allowed to die there, and their bodies went on to become part of the structure of that thing.

Many centuries later, the United States had conquered its wild west and then they got the idea of building railroads across that part of the continent. So they hired as many workers as possible, and the descendants of those who generally wet west in China to build their fabled wall, this time wet east, to the western coast of the United States.

There, after travelling for week or months by sea, they began building all those railroads, and brought their games and traditions with them, including what we know as Keno. The local authorities saw that it was a lottery, and since they wanted to get all the lottery money to finance their fortresses and organise their own military expeditions, they promptly prohibited it.

But that was not a real problem for the Chinese mafia that grew around betting and gambling in the cramped Chinese quarters, particularly in San Francisco, so gambling went on and from time to time, they bribed a couple of police officers, a judge or two, and changed the name of the whole game and some other items to make it look less threatening from the moral viewpoint.

Then, after a couple of decades id didn't look anymore like a lottery, and was accepted and allowed by law; now you can find keno games in almost every casino, while it remains being a lottery that shouldn't be there.

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