The History of the Lottery


During the 16th century, various towns in the Netherlands held public lotteries to raise money. They were a lot of fun and collected funds for the poor.

The first state-sponsored lotterie in Europe took place in Flanders during the first half of the 15th century. It was organized by Emperor Augustus. In the seventeenth century, Col. Bernard Moore’s “Slave Lottery” advertised slaves as prizes.

The Chinese Book of Songs mentions a game of chance as “drawing of wood”. The Chinese lottery slips from 205-187 BC are believed to have helped finance important government projects.

There are two main types of lottery games today. One involves choosing six numbers from a set of balls. The other uses a scratch-off ticket. The latter is extremely popular.

A number of states have increased the number of balls in the lottery, thereby providing more chances of winning. New lottery games can be played for as little as 25 cents or as much as 99 cents.

The oldest running lottery is the Staatsloterij, founded in 1726. The largest lottery retailer is California. The NASPL Web site lists nearly 186,000 lottery retailers.

In the United States, lottery sales are governed by state governments. During fiscal year 2006, the North American Association of State and Provincial Lotteries reported U.S. lottery sales at $56.4 billion. This compared to $52.6 billion in the previous fiscal year.

The NASPL’s Web site lists a number of other lottery-related sites. Some of them include service stations, restaurants, and newsstands. Others include nonprofit organizations.