Origins of the Lottery


Lottery rules determine how often drawings occur and how big the prizes are. They also determine how much of the pool is spent on prize payouts. A percentage of the pool goes to the sponsor or state, depending on the rules. Bigger prizes appear to be more attractive to potential bettors. Rollover drawings increase ticket sales drastically. Some cultures demand smaller prizes. However, there are exceptions to every rule, such as those for Australian or European cultures.


The origins of the lottery go back to ancient China, where the game was thought to have originated. The earliest recorded lotto slips were reportedly created by Chinese rulers to raise funds for huge government projects. The Chinese Book of Songs mentions this game of chance, referring to it as “drawing wood or lots.”

Origins in Europe

Origins of lottery in Europe are very ancient. The ancient Chinese, Romans, and Dutch first used lotteries to distribute jobs and raise money for public projects. After these countries introduced them to Europe, they began using lotteries to raise money for public projects and settle legal disputes. In fact, the word ‘lottery’ is derived from the Dutch noun, lot, meaning ‘chance’. This is when the game of lotto became popular throughout Europe.

Origins in the U.S.

The United States had a long tradition of lottery play, but it wasn’t until the mid-1800s that the game really took off. George Washington started one of the first lotteries in America, which he ran for political and personal gain. Other founding fathers, including Ben Franklin, George Washington, and Thomas Jefferson, ran their own lotteries for funding. Thomas Jefferson even ran a lottery to pay off his debts!

Origins in New South Wales

Lotteries have been a part of New South Wales since 1849, when the first game was announced. The lottery has grown to over one million tickets sold each week, and has helped finance the Sydney Opera House, among other projects. In the years since, many people have won cars, houses, and other prizes. But the history of the lottery in New South Wales is a complex one, with various states introducing lottery laws at different points in time.