Lottery History

Lottery History

Lotteries have been with us for a long time. They are so old that they are mentioned in the Bible, and Caesar himself is known for encouraging lottery games in Rome to help pay for the repair work that needed to be done in the city. Legend has it that even the Great Wall of China was paid for with lottery game profits.

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In medieval times, Europe was a hotbed of lottery activities. In 1420, residents of the French town of L'Ecluse decided to follow Caesar's example by using a public lottery to help raise money; this time to increase the city's defenses. Charitable causes led authorities in the Belgian city of Bruges to hold a lottery in 1466 to raise money for the poor and needy.

In the early XNUMXth century, Italians caught lottery fever when they introduced the idea of ​​a 'numbers' lottery in Florence. Interestingly, the word “loteria” is thought to have its origins in the Italian “loteria”, which simply means “destiny”.

Royalty seized the lottery's potential in 1520, when King Francis I of France held the first-ever state lottery. You profits went to the Royal Court. Forty years later, in the 1560s, lottery fever swept across the English Channel when Queen Elizabeth I decided to hold her own state lottery to raise money to improve England's ailing ports. Her Majesty's prizes included tapestries and cash.

The lottery gained popularity in England over the next two centuries. The British Museum in London, now one of the best in the world, was actually started with lottery winnings in 1753.

Lotteries were particularly popular in the New World in the XNUMXth 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 army. Mountain Road, one of the main routes into western Virginia, was paid for with a lottery organized by George Washington.

Individuals liked them too; Thomas Jefferson (the third president of the United States) sold most of his property through a lottery scheme. Many of America's historic colleges and universities were initially created with lottery profits. Most notably, these include many of the prestigious Ivy League universities.

Over the past two centuries, lotteries have been legalized and implemented in virtually every country in the world. As the number of people playing becomes larger, so do the prizes; a 2000 US Big Game lottery jackpot hit $363 million.

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