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The History of Lottery


Lottery is a form of gambling in which numbers are drawn at random. Some governments outlaw it, while others endorse it and organize a state or national lottery. Regardless of the legality of lotteries, many people enjoy the chance to win money. However, the process of picking numbers is not as simple as it sounds.

Lotteries were first used to raise money in the 15th century in the Low Countries. Different towns held public lotteries to raise funds for various projects, including town fortifications and aiding the poor. Some records indicate that there may have been lotteries before the 15th century. The town of L’Ecluse in France, for example, mentions a lottery in a record from 9 May 1445. This lottery raised 1737 florins, or about US$170,000 in 2014.

During the American Revolution, the Continental Congress passed a resolution to create a lottery. While this plan failed to raise enough money to fund the American Revolution, smaller public lotteries were eventually formed and became an important source of public funding. Those funds helped build several American colleges. In the United States, lotteries became common and were used by private businesses and governments to promote certain products and services. There were as many as 420 lotteries in eight different states at the time of the 1832 census.

The game of chance dates back to ancient times. The Chinese Book of Songs mentions it as early as 205 BC. Lotteries were popular in ancient China and were used to fund major government projects. In ancient China, the game of chance was also referred to as “the drawing of wood or lots.”