The History of the Lottery


The first recorded Lottery sold tickets with money prizes. The public lotteries were held in towns in the Low Countries in order to raise money for town fortifications or poor people. Although the first recorded Lottery may be much older, we do not know for sure. One record from L’Ecluse, France, dated 9 May 1445, mentions a lottery of 4,304 tickets for florins, which would be approximately US$170,000 in 2014 dollars.

Lottery dates back to the Chinese Han Dynasty

The first recorded lottery was held during the Han Dynasty, roughly 205 BC, in China. This method of fundraising was used to fund key government projects, including the Great Wall of China. Later, lotteries were introduced in the Roman Empire. These were often held as dinner party entertainment, and the Roman Empire had its first commercial lottery in 15 BC. Emperor Augustus used the profits from the lottery to repair the city and fund other important projects. Throughout the centuries, variations of the lottery concept were used in many countries.

It’s an addictive form of gambling

There has been much research about how lotteries can be addictive, and it has been shown that many products associated with these lotteries are ineffective in reducing the likelihood of winning. Scratchies, lotto tickets, and other lottery products are also a source of harm, according to Curtin University’s research. The addictive properties of these products can lead to a range of problems, from daily dysfunction to substance abuse.

It’s tax-free in some countries

It’s true that winning the lottery can provide you with an income, but not all countries tax it. Canada, for example, does not tax lottery winnings. Some less thoughtful responders will assume that winning the lottery is taxable income or a windfall. In reality, the government withholds close to 50% of all sales to generate revenue from gambling. So, taxing lottery winnings would be double-dipping and greed.

It can cost a lot of money to play

When you look at the opportunity costs of buying lottery tickets, it’s easy to see why they can add up to a small fortune, especially for low-income individuals. A recent survey by Bankrate revealed that the average adult spends $1 to $100 a month on scratch offs and Powerball. That means that an average lottery buyer spends $17 per week on lottery tickets, which is equivalent to about $1,700 a year, if you aren’t already paying for gas.