The History of the Lottery

The lottery dates back to colonial America, when the Continental Congress used it to raise money for the American Revolution. Alexander Hamilton was among the first to support the idea, writing that people would risk a small sum of money for a big gain. He also noted that a small chance of winning a large amount was better than a high-risk, low-reward scenario. Lotteries were also popular in various colonies during the French and Indian War, where the Commonwealth of Massachusetts used them to raise funds for its “Expedition against Canada.”

The first recorded lotteries offered money prizes in tickets. The Dutch first organized public lotteries in the 15th century to raise funds for poor people and a variety of public purposes. People took to these games and the concept quickly gained widespread appeal. The oldest continuously running lottery, the Staatsloterij of Flanders, dates back to 1426. The English word lottery was derived from the Dutch noun meaning “fate”.

Today, the lottery is popular in several states and is growing in popularity. New Hampshire became the first state to create a lottery, and since then, spending on it has increased. The jackpots have grown and more people have bought tickets. People who don’t gamble may have purchased a Powerball ticket in January 2016 to win a record jackpot. However, not all people can afford the lottery. While it is fun to play and a popular form of entertainment, there are many people who say the lottery preys on the poor and is unfair to the poor.