History of Lottery

The first lotteries were held in Italy and France in the 15th century. They were a way for towns to raise money for defense and the poor. The French government authorized the first lotteries in 1539 under the edict of Chateaurenard. The lottery was an immediate failure and the social classes opposed the project. The French banned the lottery for two centuries, though some continued to run in some regions. The first modern lotto was held in Genoa in 1872.


The history of lottery is far older than the invention of modern gambling. The first known examples of lottery slips date to between 205 BC and 187 BC. Many believe that the game helped fund major government projects. The Chinese Book of Songs mentions a game of chance as “drawing wood” and “drawing lots.” This game is still played today, albeit with far fewer players than today. Several other ancient and medieval civilizations had their own versions of lottery games.

There are many historical examples of lotteries. The first lotteries were held in ancient Egypt. In the Bible, Moses was instructed to divide the land among the Israelites by lot. Later, the practice of dividing property by lot was used by Roman emperors to give away slaves and property. The practice of holding a lottery was so popular that it was used as a popular form of entertainment at dinner parties. The term apophoreta means “that which is carried home.”