The History of the Lottery


The first recorded lotteries were public affairs in the Low Countries, with people selling tickets for prizes in the form of money. Towns held public lotteries to raise money for poor people and for fortifications. There is some evidence of such lotteries as early as the 14th century, according to the town records of Ghent. For example, a record from L’Ecluse dated 9 May 1445 mentions a lottery to raise money for fortifications and walls, with prize money worth 1737 florins, or about US$170,000 today.