Chinese Games of Chance: Casino Games Originating in China

Chinese_gambling_games image
Mahjong. Image Credit: Shutterstock

China has a rich history that spans millennia, and Chinese gambling games are regarded as some of the oldest forms of wagering in the world. 

Chinese civilisation is one of the oldest in the world that has endured to the present day. For foreigners, the local Chinese culture often appears rich, exotic, and often misunderstood. It is no wonder, then, that some of the earliest forms of gambling originated in China some 2,000 years ago. And even today, Chinese gambling games remain very popular at casinos worldwide.

Top Chinese Gambling Games

Casino games that originated in China are today popular far outside the country’s borders. Here are some of the most famous games that you can enjoy at your local casino or home with friends:


The origins of Mahjong go back to ancient China. The downside for punters who enjoy Mahjong is that the game is only available at selected casinos. The game utilises a set of 136 tiles that the player must match together. The tiles consist of 36 characters, 36 circles, and 36 bamboos. The game is played with four players, each receiving 14 tiles consisting of mixed characters, bamboos, and circles.

The goal of the game is to get a “mahjong”. Mahjong is a set of 14 tiles paired into four groups of associated tiles and a single pair. A pair refers to two identical tiles (e.g., two bamboos). Sets can be formed using three like tiles called a “pung”, or tiles that follow in sequential order and belong to the same suit, referred to as “chow”. Every set must be unique, and the same tile cannot appear in two batches.


Keno is one of the lottery-style Chinese gambling games that can be played online or at a land-based casino. State lotteries often have keno as one of their gaming options. The game uses a container filled up with numbered balls, keno cards (with numbers one through to 80) and a facilitator, should you be playing keno at an actual casino.

The player’s job is to guess the ten (or 20 in some cases) numbers that are likely to be drawn or selected by a random number generator. The player pre-selects these numbers on their keno card and cash in their ticket should they win once the draw is finished.

They say that keno was developed in China during a time of outrage. It is believed that the funds accumulated from the game saved an ancient Chinese city from ruin and helped fund the construction of the Great Wall of China.

Pai Gow

Pai Gow and Pai Gow Poker are two distinctive Chinese gambling games. Pai Gow is played using Chinese dominoes, whereas Pai Gow Poker makes use of playing cards. During the game, a player receives seven cards that must be split into two hands. The player must then use standard poker hand rankings to create the best possible hand to win.

Sic Bo

The history of Sic Bo dates back to ancient China. The term “Sic Bo” literally means “dice pair”, although, to add a dash of oriental intrigue into the equation, the game is played using three dice.

Sic Bo is, essentially, a simple dice game. It’s thought that the game was initially played with bricks, lurched between two plates and an overturned bowl. This was later adapted to the cage and dice shaker variant common in today’s game versions.

Chinese Themed Slots

Slot games are very popular at casinos around the world. They come in various formats, payouts, designs, and themes. There is also an abundance of Asian-themed slots. Players can enjoy titles such as Spirit of Zen, Year of the Dog, Sakura Fortune, Koi Princess, Geisha Story, 100 Pandas, Thai Flower, Red Mansions, and many more.

Picture of Bojan Lipovic - Digital Project Manager

Bojan Lipovic - Digital Project Manager

Besides polishing his SEO skills, Bojan has a penchant for creative writing. With over half a decade of experience in the online gambling industry under his belt, his written take on the latest news from the Canadian and global gambling industries is an indispensable source of information for the CASINOenquirer team. Bojan’s primary goal is to ensure that players get a superior experience through the top-notch content that he shares.

Gambling News