10 incredible facts about the Lottery. A fun and harmless pastime, enjoyed by millions. For most people playing the lottery means picking up their ticket on a Saturday afternoon together with their weekly shop, or better still (as I hope that you do) buying tickets online. Lotteries are a relatively simple concept that most people take for granted. Other than the thrill of winning £1,000,000 there’s not much to it you might say. Oh, but you’d be wrong, so very, very wrong. Here are 10 lottery facts that will totally blow your mind!
Lotteries were used to finance the building of the Great Wall of China
Photo by William Olivieri on Unsplash
One of the earliest facts about the lottery. Lottery games date back to as early as 205 to 187 B.C. During the Han Dynasty in China. Lotteries were used to fund various government projects, one of which was the building of the Great Wall of China.
Achilles drew lots for the right to fight Hector
Of all the great facts about the lottery, this one is our favorite. Evidence of lotteries has been found in many ancient civilizations from Ancient China to the Celts. In Homer’s The Iliad, the ancient Greek text chronicling the Trojan wars, there is a reference to lots being placed into Agamemnon’s helmet to determine who would fight Hector.
Caesar founded European lottery games
One of those lottery facts that you never would have figured out. The earliest lottery in Europe took place during the reign of Augustus Caesar, Lotteries at that time were often simply amusement for the nobility at dinner parties. However, there are records of the sale of tickets for a lottery in order to raise funds for repairs to the City of Rome
The first European public lottery was held in the Netherlands
Interesting lottery facts number 4 concerns a small and otherwise insignificant Dutch town. The first public lottery in Europe was held in 1434 in the Dutch town of Sluis. It wasn’t until at least a decade later, however, that the first lotteries with prize money began to appear. Held in numerous towns in Flanders (Belgium, Holland, and France), these lotteries were held to raise money to aid the poor and fund fortifications of the towns. They were hailed as a less painful form of taxation and were quite popular with the people. The English word lottery is derived from the Dutch word Loterij which stems from the Dutch noun lot meaning ‘fate’.
Queen Elizabeth I was the mother of the national lottery
One of the very earliest English lottery facts. The first recorded British lottery was chartered by Queen Elizabeth I in 1566″ The lottery was to raise funds for the “reparation of the havens and strength of the Realme, and towardse such other publique good workes”. This lottery was very different from previous lotteries as each ticket holder won a prize. The total value of the prizes given out equaled the amount of money raised. This effectively made the money raised by the lottery a loan to the government over the 3 years that tickets were sold.
The English lottery was once played in America
Facts about the lottery and the British royal family are extremely prevalent. The first English lottery drawn in America was approved by King James I in 1612. Granted to the Virginia Company of London it helped them found the first permanent English settlement in America, ‘Jamestown‘.
Major US Universities were financed by the lottery
This is certainly one of those little-known lottery facts that are very interesting to know. Princeton, Columbia University, and the University of Pennsylvania were all financed by lotteries. In fact, lotteries played a significant role in financing the building of the colonies. Records show that over 200 lotteries were permitted in the period between 1744 and the American Revolution. These lotteries played a vital role in the funding of roads, libraries, churches, colleges, bridges, and other public works.
US state lotteries were once a breeding ground for scam artists
This is one of those lottery facts that will likely trigger any American conspiracy theorist. By the late 19th century lotteries became known for mismanagement and scandals. The Louisiana State Lottery (1868-1892) became the most notorious state lottery and was known as the “Golden Octopus” as it reached into every American home.
The Louisiana lottery was a breeding ground for corruption having bribed legislators into a fraudulent deal. In July of 1890, President Harrison sent a message to Congress insisting that severe and effective legislation be enacted against lotteries. Congress agreed and banned US mail from carrying lottery tickets. In 1892 a law was upheld to put a complete halt to all lotteries in the US by 1900.
Voltaire ran the most audacious lottery scam in history
This is one of those lottery facts that made headlines all across France in the 18th century. The writer and philosopher Voltaire made a fortune by conducting a lottery scam. Read about the most audacious lottery syndicate scam in history.
Sweden’s incredible speed camera lottery
One of the most incredible lottery facts occurs in Stockholm, Sweden. Here they have a speed camera lottery. The speed camera photographs the license plates of drivers doing the speed limit, as well as those who are speeding. The people who are obeying the law have their license plates placed into a lottery and receive a portion of the money collected from those who are speeding.
The contents of this site including all blog articles and static pages are designed to be both fun and informative. Nothing in this blog is intended to show that taking part in any lottery will significantly change your life for the better nor should this be inferred.