• Home
  • The History of the Lottery

The History of the Lottery

The Lottery has been around for a long time. In the New York lottery’s first year, it grossed $53.6 million, attracting residents of other states to purchase tickets. By the end of the decade, twelve more states had their own lotteries. During this time, the Lottery became a popular method of funding public projects without raising taxes and gaining the approval of Catholic populations that were generally tolerant of gambling activities.

A study done by the Council of State Governments in 1999 shows that lottery approval has increased in the last decade, with seventy percent of adults favoring the idea. In addition to the states that have started lottery games, other states that have introduced them include Colorado, Georgia, Louisiana, and Oregon. The most recent year to measure lottery approval is 2000, although it may vary depending on the state’s legislature. Although the Gallup Organization’s findings are encouraging, the numbers don’t necessarily reflect the current state of public sentiment.

The practice of holding a lottery dates back to ancient times. Old Testament scripture instructs Moses to make a census of the people of Israel, and then divide the land by lot. A lottery conducted by a group will gain more media attention than a solo win, but the group-winning approach is less likely to cause disagreements. A recent National Gambling Impact Study Commission report notes that most colonial-era lotteries were largely unsuccessful.