The History of Lottery

Lotteries have been in existence for quite some time. They date back to the time of the Bible, and Julius Caesar himself encouraged lottery to help settle repair jobs that was to be done in the city. Legends presumed that the Great Wall of China also benefited from the lottery games.

During the medieval times, Europe was a focus of lottery activity. Residents of L'Ecluse, a town in France, followed Caesar's efforts by using a public lottery to generate funds for strengthening the defense of the town in 1420. In 1466, a lottery was organized by officials of Bruges, a city in Belgium, for the purpose of raising funds for the poor and needy.

During the early part of the 16th century, lottery mania struck the Italians when they initiated the concept of a 'number' lottery in the town of Florence. It is quite interesting to note that the word lottery originated from the Italian word "lotto," which literally means "fate."

In 1520, the income potential of lottery caught the attention of the royalty when the first ever state lottery was organized by King Francis I of France. The Royal Court received the proceeds. After forty years, lottery fever traversed the England after Queen Elizabeth I organized a national lottery to generate money to boost England's poor harbors. Tapestry and money were packaged in the queen's prizes.

During the next two hundred years, lottery grew in popularity in England. One of the world's finest museums, the British Museum located in London, was a recipient of lottery proceeds in1753. In the New World, lotteries were specifically popular during the 18th century. Benjamin Franklin organized one to compensate for the cannons that assisted in the victory in the American War of Independence, and was likewise used to give money to the army. A lottery set-up by George Washington helped support Mountain Road, one of the chief routes going to the west from Virginia.

Lottery was also a favorite of individuals. Most of Thomas Jefferson's (the third president of the United States) property was auctioned through a lottery scheme. Lottery proceeds also helped finance many of the historic colleges and universities in America. Among them, the different universities in the prestigious Ivy League were the most notable.

Throughout the last two hundred years, lotteries were legitimated and initiated in almost every country of the world. As the number of playing people grew, the prizes also grew. In 2000, the Big Game lottery held in the USA was estimated at $363 million.

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