The Evolution of World-Wide Lotteries! Lotteries form an integral part of the national fabric of any country. References to lottery can be traced back to ancient times – as far back as the Pharaohs in Egypt. They also find mention in the Bible in the Book of Numbers of the Old Testament.
Between 205 and 187 B.C. during the Han Dynasty in China, a lottery-like game called Keno was played which is believed to have been used to finance government projects, including the Great Wall of China! References to lottery can be found in ancient Greece in Homer’s The Iliad. Officially the oldest lottery in the world is the Netherlands Lottery known as the Dutch National Lottery, which was founded in 1726, and is operational even today.
Background of Lottery in Europe
Lotteries have always thrived in Europe and are believed to have begun as far as the times of Julius Caesar, in the first century before Christ. Caesar is believed to have introduced a lottery to raise funds for repairs in the city of Rome. In 1434, the earliest public lottery went on record in the Dutch town of Sluis. In fact the word ‘lottery’ is derived from the Dutch word ‘loterij’ which originates from the Dutch noun ‘lot’ meaning “fate”. The first recorded British lottery was chartered by Queen Elizabeth I in 1566 and not drawn until 1569. In 1612, King James I approved the first English Lottery by royal decree, granting the Virginia Company of London the right to raise money to build a colony in Virginia, America. Over 200 lotteries permitted between 1744 and the American Revolution, played an important role in the funding of roads, bridges, libraries, churches, colleges, and other public works. In 1753, a lottery was held to finance the building of the British museum.