The History of the Lottery
- by adminspirit
During the early years of the United States, colonial Americans used lotteries to raise money for college tuition, local militia, and fortification. These money-raising games were tolerated in many cases, but were outlawed by ten American states between 1844 and 1859. The Continental Congress also used lotteries to raise funds for the Colonial Army and for public projects.
The first recorded European lottery was held in the Roman Empire, during the reign of Emperor Augustus. Wealthy noblemen would distribute tickets during Saturnalian revels, which offered a prize in the form of money or articles of unequal value. In 1539, the Germanic kingdom of the Low Countries was known to hold public lotteries to raise funds for fortifications. These lotteries were popular in the Netherlands in the 17th century. In addition to these lottery games, Roman emperors also reported using them to give away property and slaves.
In the United States, lotteries are typically run by state or city governments. While these lotteries are not usually expensive, they can add up over time. Depending on the lottery, winners are awarded a lump sum or annuity payment. A lump sum is usually lower than the advertised jackpot, because taxes are taken out of the prize fund. If the prize is millions of dollars, the winner will be subject to federal and state taxes. For example, winning a $10 million lottery would result in $5 million after taxes. If the prize is millions of dollars, it will be subject to a tax bracket of 37 percent.
Some people argue that financial lotteries are addictive. However, the proceeds from these games go to good causes, and some governments have used the revenue to improve roads, bridges, and public buildings. They have been criticized as a waste of taxpayer’s money, but they have also been credited with raising funds for major government projects.
Although the origins of lotteries are debated, there is no doubt that they began as a form of gambling. The Chinese Book of Songs refers to a game of chance as a “drawing of lots.” In the Roman Empire, lotteries were mainly amusement at dinner parties. In the United States, some states have opted to increase the number of balls in their lottery games. This increases the odds of winning, but also changes the odds of getting one of the bigger jackpots.
In the United States, most lotteries take out 24 percent of the prize money for federal taxes. These withholdings depend on the jurisdiction and the investment made. For example, if a lottery player makes an investment in bonds, the withholdings will be different than if the same person invests in stocks.
The English State Lottery ran from 1694 to 1826. The Virginia Company of London supported the settlement of America at Jamestown, and King James I granted the right to hold a lottery in the name of the company. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts raised money with a lottery for an “Expedition against Canada” in 1758. In 1755, the Academy Lottery financed the University of Pennsylvania.
During the early years of the United States, colonial Americans used lotteries to raise money for college tuition, local militia, and fortification. These money-raising games were tolerated in many cases, but were outlawed by ten American states between 1844 and 1859. The Continental Congress also used lotteries to raise funds for the Colonial Army and…