Gambling Operations-Part 5: Renaming a Town

(This is the final post in a series of blogs related to gambling operations in Florida.)

Throughout this series of posts, we have discussed some of the gambling laws in Florida, including the legality of different types of games.  This post will be a little different, as it will focus on the stigma of gambling.

Keno, Florida

Did you know that there once was a town called Keno, Florida?  That’s right, you won’t find it on a current map, however.  And it was all because of the post office and the stigma of being known as gambling town.

Back in the 1870’s, Colonel Whetstone ran the general store in Keno, Florida.  In 1876, Whetstone applied for a post office to be located in Keno.  However, the post office denied the request because the name “Keno” means to gamble.  Mr. Whetstone then changed the town name to Leno to justify that it was a decent town. The post office was put upstairs above the general store, along with the telegraph office.

Due to the railroad bypassing Leno, the town gradually died out and became a ghost town.  The last known record from the town of Leno is from 1896.  Local residents started calling the abandoned town “Old Leno”, which over time was shortened to O’Leno.

Currently, the area originally known as Keno became O’Leno State Park in Columbia County, Florida.

For more information on O’Leno State Park, click here.

And THAT is how the stigma of being known as a gambling town forced one Florida town to change its name.

(Disclaimer: This post does not constitute legal advice nor does it create an attorney-client relationship.)


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