The History of the Lottery


The history of the Lottery goes back to the late Middle Ages, when Low Countries towns held public lotteries to raise money for town fortifications or the poor. While the origin of the lottery has not been fully documented, town records suggest that it may have been in place even earlier. For example, in a record dated 9 May 1445 at L’Ecluse, the town mentions a lottery of 4,304 tickets, worth the equivalent of US$170,000 today.

Lottery is a scheme for the distribution of prizes by lot or chance

The practice of dividing property by lot or chance goes back to ancient times. It is mentioned in the Old Testament scripture, when Moses is instructed to take a census of the population of Israel and divide the land by lot. In ancient Rome, the emperors held lotteries to distribute land and free slaves. The game of chance was also mentioned in the Chinese Book of Songs, where it was called a “drawing of wood”.

It is a form of gambling

The word “lottery” is used to describe many activities that involve gambling. In the Bible, the word “lottery” is found as a reference to both gambling and investing. There are several instances in the Bible where the odds of winning are low, such as Samson’s wager in Judges 14:12 or the soldiers’ bets in Mark 15:24. Lottery is also mentioned in the Bible, with the casting of lots used for decision making in Proverbs 16:33. While the purpose of lottery-playing in the Bible may be a test of luck, the definition is based on expected value and the house edge of a particular game.

It can be played for annuities

Annuities are great investments, and many lottery winners have opted for them, since they provide tax benefits and protection against blowing out their winnings quickly. In fact, the UK has its own annuity lottery game, called Set For Life, that offers a top prize of PS10,000 every month for thirty years. That’s more than enough to keep most people happy for the rest of their lives.