History of the Lottery


Throughout the history of the United States, many different towns and cities have held public lotteries to raise money. Money raised in these lotteries has often gone towards funding public projects, including roads, bridges, and libraries.

Lotteries were also used to fund colleges and universities. In 1755, the Academy Lottery financed the University of Pennsylvania. In 1758, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts raised money with a lottery for an expedition against Canada. The Virginia Company of London supported settlement in the United States at Jamestown, and many private lotteries were held to raise money for the company.

Lotteries have been criticized as an addictive form of gambling. Nevertheless, they are still popular. Throughout the world, lotteries have been used to raise money for public projects and to help fund colleges and universities.

The first known European lotteries were organized by Roman emperors. Lotteries were usually held at dinner parties. Some emperors gave away property as prizes.

Several states in colonial America held lotteries to raise money for public projects. Benjamin Franklin organized a lottery to raise money for cannons for the Philadelphia defense.

Alexander Hamilton wrote that a lottery should be “simple and fair” to allow everyone a fair chance of winning. He also wrote that people should be willing to risk trifling sums for a chance to gain a considerable amount.

In the United States, lotteries are typically run by the state or city government. Lottery tickets can be purchased at various retail outlets. Ticket sales are usually taxed, and withholdings depend on the jurisdiction. In addition, a lottery winner has the option of receiving a lump sum or annuity payment.