The History of Lottery

Lotteries have been with us for a long time. They go so far back that they’re mentioned in the Bible, and Caesar himself is believed to have supported lottery games in Rome to assist pay for maintenance work that needed to be done in the city. Legend has it that the earnings of lottery games paid for even the Great Wall of China.
In medieval times, Europe was a hive of lottery activity. In 1420, people of the French town of L’Ecluse decided to follow Caesar’s lead by utilizing a public lottery to help raise money, this time to enhance the town’s defenses. Likewise, philanthropic concerns inspired officials in the Belgium city of Bruges to host a lottery in 1466 to raise revenue for the destitute and needy.
In the early 16th century, the Italians got lottery fever when they introduced the idea of a ‘number’ lottery in Florence. Interestingly, the name ‘lottery’ stems from the Italian ‘lotto,’ which implies fate.
Royalty caught on to the lottery’s moneymaking possibilities in 1520 when King Francis I of France held the first-ever state lottery. The proceeds went to the Royal Court. Forty years later, in the 1560s, lottery fever crossed the English Channel when Queen Elizabeth I decided to run her state lottery to collect money to improve England’s deteriorating harbors. Her Majesty’s rewards included tapestry and money.
The lottery rose in popularity in England over the next two centuries. Today, the British Museum in London, one of the finest globally, was launched on the proceeds of a lottery in 1753.
Lotteries were extremely popular in the New World in the 18th century. Benjamin Franklin used one to pay for the cannons that helped win the American War of Independence, and they were also used to pay money to the soldiers. The Mountain Road, one of the primary routes into the west from Virginia, was paid for using a lottery conducted by George Washington.
Individuals were fond of them, too; Thomas Jefferson (the third U.S. President) sold much of his property through a lottery method. In addition, many of America’s historic colleges and institutions were initially founded up with the revenues of lotteries. Most notably, these include many of the universities in the elite Ivy League.
Within the last couple of centuries, lotteries have been legalized and implemented in pretty much every country in the world. As the numbers of people playing become more extensive, so do the awards; a jackpot in the USA’s Big Game lottery in 2000 reached $363 million.