The History of Lottery Games
The first recorded lotteries were held in China, where the Han Dynasty was in power. These government-sponsored games helped finance important projects, including the construction of a battery of cannons in Philadelphia and the building of Faneuil Hall in Boston. As early as 1415, a record from L’Ecluse, France, refers to a public lottery that involved 4,304 tickets. This amount would be about US$170,000 in 2014.
The first modern European lotteries began in 15th century Burgundy and Flanders, when towns tried to raise money for the poor and defenses. Pope Francis I of France allowed lotteries to be conducted in several cities between 1520 and 1539. In Italy, the first lottery, called ventura, was held in the city-state of Modena. In France, the first lottery was held in Genoa in 1603. In the Netherlands, the word lottery comes from the Dutch noun “lot,” which means fate.
Lotteries have many different types of formats. Some are fixed-prize draws that award large cash prizes. Other lotteries have fixed-price payouts that are a percentage of the total receipts. The lottery format is also widely used in basketball. The National Basketball Association holds a lottery to determine draft picks for the 14 worst teams. The winning team has the chance to select the top college talent. While lottery games are not entirely free, they are a fun way to spend a few hours with family and friends.