History of the Lottery


Throughout history, people have been interested in lotteries. They have been used as a method of raising funds for various public projects. In the United States, various states use lotteries to raise money for colleges, parks, veterans, and seniors.

In addition, financial lotteries have been criticized as addictive forms of gambling. However, lottery proceeds are generally not subject to personal income taxes.

The origins of lotteries can be traced back to the Roman Empire. A Roman Emperor, Augustus, organized a lottery and gave the winning ticket holders articles of unequal value.

In the 17th century, lotteries were common in the Netherlands. Some of the towns held public lotteries to raise money for their schools, bridges, fortifications, and roads.

Some colonies held lotteries during the French and Indian Wars. Records dating back to 1445 indicate that the town of L’Ecluse held a public lottery for the purpose of raising money for walls and fortifications.

In 1755, the Academy Lottery financed the University of Pennsylvania. In the 1740s, Princeton and Columbia Universities were financed by lotteries.

The first known European lotteries were distributed by wealthy noblemen during Saturnalian revels. In 1612, King James I of England authorized the English lottery.

Many colonial American lotteries were held between 1744 and 1776. In 1758, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts raised money with a lottery for the “Expedition against Canada.”

The United Kingdom pays prizes as lump sums or annuities tax-free. In addition, Australia, Finland, and New Zealand do not impose personal income taxes on lottery proceeds.