20 June 2017
Let's take a walk down memory lane and look at the origins of the lottery around the world.
Some of the earliest traces of the lottery are from 205BC in China during the Han Dynasty. Historians believe that these lotteries were used to fund ambitious government projects including the Great Wall of China.
The Ancient Romans were also some of the first people to use lotteries as a form of entertainment, as well as a means to fund defense and infrastructure. Various Roman emperors would distribute lottery tickets to the crowds at circuses or the arena, winners would be able to collect prizes such as precious vases, kegs of wine or even horses.
European merchants were the first non-government individuals to sell lottery tickets. They would auction off tickets that could then be exchanged for different goods and prizes.
The first lotteries in England were chartered by Queen Elizabeth I and were used to raise money for the "reparation of the havens and strength of the Realme, and towardes such other publique good workes". Tickets for the lottery were sold for three years and each ticket holder in the lottery would win a prize such as silver plates and other valuable commodities.
More modern forms of the lottery arose in early colonial America and other parts of Europe. The first lottery held in the US was organised by the Virginia Company, with a grant by the British Crown, in order to help build infrastructure for the new British colonies. These early lotteries were also used to establish some of the most prestigious universities in the US including Yale, Harvard, Dartmouth and Princeton. When the Revolutionary War broke out in America both sides used lotteries to fund their respective war efforts.
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