History of the Lottery


The first documented lotteries with money prizes were conducted in the Low Countries during the fifteenth century. The purpose was to raise money for the poor and for various public purposes. The lottery became popular and was seen as a simple and painless way to raise funds. The oldest running lottery in history, the Staatsloterij, was founded in 1726. The word lottery derives from the Dutch noun “loter,” which means “fate.”

In the early 1800s, Benjamin Franklin organized a lottery to raise money for cannons for Philadelphia’s defense. Several of these lotteries were unsuccessful. George Washington’s “Mountain Road Lottery” failed, but one ticket bearing the President’s signature became a collectible and was sold for $15,000 in 2007. In 1769, Washington served as the manager for Col. Bernard Moore’s “Slave Lottery,” which offered slaves and land as prizes.

The Continental Congress and various states used lotteries to raise money for public projects. The Continental Congress used the proceeds from lottery proceeds to help fund the Colonial Army. Alexander Hamilton wrote that lotteries should be “reduced to the most simple form of gambling, with no taxes.” Many people favored a small chance of a big prize over a small one, and Hamilton’s advice to make lotteries simple is still valid today.

The term “jackpot” comes from poker. In the late nineteenth century, the term “jackpot” was used to refer to a big prize. The pot grew until one player opened betting with a pair of jacks. The term has since come to mean any large money prize. Its definition has changed as the game of chance has evolved.

Although winnings are generally tax-free in the U.S., they are not always paid as a lump sum. In some cases, lottery winners elect to receive a one-time payment or an annuity. However, it is important to note that one-time lottery payout is often less than the advertised jackpot because of the time value of money and income taxes. There are also some withholdings based on the jurisdiction and the investment. On average, winners receive less than 1/3 of their advertised jackpot.

The prize amounts for lotteries are set based on expected number of winners. Some are based on a fixed percentage of lottery receipts, while others are based on a random drawing with no fixed minimum. The starting jackpot is based on sales and interest rates and may be smaller or larger than the prize pool.

The drawings are held at approximately 10 p.m. (CT) every Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday. The deadline to purchase a ticket is eight hours before the drawing. If you win, you must claim your prize within 365 days of the drawing. It is also important to note that Lotto tickets are not refundable once they are printed.