History of Lottery


A lottery is a gambling game where multiple people buy tickets for a small price in order to have a chance of winning a large sum of money, sometimes running into millions of dollars. Lottery games are similar to gambling and are run by state or federal governments.

History of Lottery

The earliest European lotteries in modern form appeared in 15th-century Burgundy and Flanders, where towns sought to raise money for fortifications or aid the poor. In England and France the earliest state-sponsored lotteries were held in the 16th century.

Early lotteries were viewed as a tax-free method of raising money for public uses. Alexander Hamilton wrote that “everybody will be willing to hazard a trifling sum for the chance of considerable gain, and would prefer a small chance of winning a great deal to a great chance of losing little.”

In modern lotteries the prizes are drawn randomly from a pool of numbers, a process usually performed by a computer. The number of prizes is chosen to maximize the total value of the prize pool, and the amount of profit for the promoter depends on the number of tickets sold.

Super-sized jackpots drive sales, since they attract free publicity on news sites and newscasts. As jackpot values rise, more and more people buy tickets, making the odds of a drawing without a winner increasingly unlikely.

In many countries, winnings are not paid out in a lump sum, but instead in an annuity payment, which may be paid to the winner over a period of years. This is often a tax-efficient way of giving the jackpot more time to grow.