What Is History of the Lottery? 5 Things to Know

Did you know that 50% of all American adults have purchased a lottery ticket?

Many people dream of winning a huge sum of money that would allow them to fulfill their dreams. They could quit their jobs! Buy a big house! Get a new car!

Have you ever wondered about the history of the lottery? What made people decide to hold lotteries?

If you play, what are your chances of winning the lottery? Keep reading.

Here are 5 things to know about the lottery.

1. The History of the Lottery Began in Rome

Lotteries go back to the Romans in around 264 BC. They used the lottery to fund public works such as aqueducts and temples. The first European lotteries were in Burgundy and Flanders in the 15th century to raise money for defense or aid for the poor.

In 17th century Genoa, Italy, names were drawn to replace members of the Great Council of the Republic of Genoa every 6 months. The public would place bets on whose name would be drawn. This lottery was so successful that it spread to other countries in Europe.

Lotteries were held throughout England in the 17th and 18th centuries. This organized gambling was the only one of its kind. There was widespread abuse, however, and it was eventually outlawed in 1826. Before that happened, funds were used to build the British Museum, repair bridges, and fund projects in the American colonies.

2. The Founding Fathers Got into the Game

During the Revolutionary War, Benjamin Franklin used a lottery to purchase a cannon for the defence of Philadelphia. Meanwhile, up in Boston, John Hancock successfully rose money through a lottery to rebuild Faneuil Hall after a 1761 fire.

George Washington held a lottery in 1768 to fund the Mountain Road in Virginia—but he failed. In 1776, the First Continental Congress established a lottery to raise funds for the War of Independence.

Thomas Jefferson tried to hold a lottery in 1826 to pay off his debts, but he died before it could be held. His children tried to hold the lottery, but they did not succeed.

3. Lottery Success Came to the US

The most successful lottery in the US was in Louisiana. At one point in the late 1880s, their lottery raised $20 million a year. Then, in the 1890s, lotteries became illegal.

In 1963, New Hampshire became the first state whose legislature allowed sweepstakes to raise money for education. New York followed with its own lottery in 1967.

During the 1970s, 12 more states introduced lotteries. As states realized lotteries were a great way to make money without raising taxes, more states joined in during the 1980s and 1990s. Today, only 5 states—Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii, Nevada, and Utah—don’t have a state lottery.

4. There are Big and Small Ways to Win

To win smaller amounts, you can play scratch-off tickets. These are often themed and can be fun to play. You might win enough to go buy dinner (a fancy one if you’re really lucky)!

If your sights are set on higher stakes, try your luck at the Powerball or Mega Millions (check it out for yourself). You can use your lucky numbers or try some at random.

The chances of winning a big stakes lottery are about 1 in over 300 million. There are many people willing to take those odds. Lots of lottery winning tips are available online to help improve your chances.

5. Beat the Odds to Win

If you’re lucky enough to win, you’ll want to know what to do if you win the lottery. The first thing to do is seek a financial advisor. You’ll want to put money to the side before you start spending.

Big lottery winners have paid off student loans, donated to charities, and set up college funds for the younger members of their families. The sky’s the limit.

Playing the Lottery

In the history of the lottery, there have been successes and failures. Should you play the lottery? That’s up to you to decide.

If you want to learn more about gambling or other entertainment topics, be sure to check out the rest of our site today!


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