The lottery has been around since times immemorial, from the very moment man determined that a lot of aspects in life were speculative in nature and involved a major element of chance.
Firstly, we find that lottery has in fact been around since Biblical times, with instances of any form of lottery been in existence, from the period around Moses, wherein he is speculated to have obtained his estate, thanks entirely to a form of local lottery which was prevalent at that time. Julius Caesar is also known to have been party to some form of lottery during his time.
Around the same time, we see that lottery was active among the Han dynasty of China whereby the game of keno became extremely popular. It is also said that while lottery funds were deployed for a wide array of purposes, including defense, it was in fact a major source of funding for the Great Wall of China.
From here on, we find that lottery came to the fore in a really big way, across various parts of Europe. This particularly included countries like Italy, Belgium and France. Funds channelized as a result of the lottery which was in vogue in these times were used for a variety of purposes such as building ports, chapels, and canals.
In fact, the origin of the word lottery by itself can largely be traced to Italy, with ‘lotto’ being the Italian word for chance or fate or destiny; given the speculative nature of the games which were indulged in around this time, for these “chance based purposes”, the word ‘lottery’ pretty much stuck on for good.
It is around the 16th Century that lottery became truly big ticket, with England getting into the “game” if you will, in a big way, both in its native country as well as its colonies at that time, such as the United States in particular.
By the 18th and 19th centuries, lottery had pretty much become staple form in the Americas, viz. including both Canada as well as the United States. Funds raised through various lottery games were being utilized for a wide variety of purposes, particularly social ones such as building schools, colleges, and churches among others. In fact it may come as a big surprise to many that big ticket and high profile centers of higher education like Princeton, Yale, Harvard and Columbia all came up on the basis of funds raised through lotteries.
Then as a jolt from the blue, much of the 19th and 20th centuries saw lottery being dealt a severe low since it was prohibited across the United States and Canada. This undoubtedly had a major detrimental impact on various social causes during this period, especially the clergy.
In 1964, lottery came back in New Hampshire in the form of a sweepstakes linked to horse racing and this was to prove to be the enabler which would ultimately reopen the floodgates of lottery in both the United States as well as Canada, which has remained the norm till date, with many millionaires to showcase along the way as proof of the mega riches which lottery has to offer, as well as the societal development which lottery as a whole can bring about with reasonable ease.