Lotteries have been around for a good chunk of recorded human history, with the proceeds of early lotteries believed to have helped fund the building of the Great Wall of China in approximately 200 BC.
During the reign of the Roman Empire, the first known European lotteries were held, although they were mainly used for amusement rather than to raise funds, and the prizes were usually gifts rather than cash. These early lotteries were different to many others, as most old lotteries were created to fund specific projects.
In the 1400s lotteries were used to help fund fortifications and to help the poor in what is now The Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg. At around the same time, they were used in Italy to fund war!
In American history, lotteries have been used to help establish settlements, build roads, churches, infrastructure and even Princeton and Columbia Universities! However, they were also used to finance war. It would be very interesting to see how American history may have been very different had lotteries not existed!
The model of using lotteries to fund projects has been used commonly ever since, with many modern lotteries used to fund various community projects today. At The Lottery Office, a percentage of all ticket sales go to our Charitable and Community Benefits Fund, supporting charities and community groups across Australia.