What is Goose?
A goose, usually a ‘Keno goose’, is a device used for selecting the numbers in the game of Keno. These ‘geese’ were long-necked wooden vials or woven sacks, designed to allow one ball at a time to be selected and called. The neck was wide enough to let a number squeeze out of the end. The goose was used in early Keno games, and also in some forms of bingo. Today, numbers are selected electronically using computers and digital display screens.
Keno is a popular casino game which is played in a similar way to bingo and lottery games. Players have a ticket on which they select numbers to bet on, and the Keno machine selects numbers at random. In most Keno games, there are 80 numbers to choose from and players select between 1 and 20 numbers to bet on. Bets are won when one or more numbers are matched, or when groups of numbers are matched, with a number of different combination bets available.
Before the digital age, Keno was played using a manual device known as a ‘Keno goose’. The ‘goose’ was a bag or a vase, often made from wood or a woven sack, which had a long narrow neck. This is where the name comes from. The upper chamber could be filled with the Keno balls, and the neck would allow one ball at a time to pass out of this chamber. The numbers which came from the goose were called, one at a time, and players could mark their tickets accordingly.
A similar device was used in bingo, usually made of a round ball with a small opening underneath. The ball is turned with a handle, and the balls fall one at a time from this hole. This kind of device is still seen in tombola games at summer fairs, or in bingo games designed as toys for children. Traditional bingo machines and Keno geese are in high demand among collectors these days, and sometimes used in home games, but casinos have progressed to using electronic technology for all Keno, bingo and lottery games