The History of the Lottery

Since 1890, Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri, and North Dakota began holding lotteries. The lottery’s popularity spread throughout the United States, and in the 1990s, nine more states joined the fray. After the end of the Great Depression, South Carolina and Tennessee also started lotteries. In the year 2000, Texas and New Mexico joined the fold, and the state’s first lotto game was launched. In a survey of South Carolina residents, lottery fans said that the lottery was the most popular pastime.


Lotteries are a popular alternative to illegal games. Players place a bet on a specific number and hope it’s theirs. While lotteries are centuries old, they have been used to finance major government projects, such as road construction and building schools. In the sixteenth century, the lottery was used to fund roads, canals, and courthouses. In many cases, lottery proceeds funded projects such as education, courthouses, and wars.

The practice of dividing property by lot dates back to ancient times. The Old Testament teaches Moses to divide land in Israel by lot. In ancient Rome, emperors used lotteries to distribute property and slaves. In the Middle Ages, apophoreta, or “the thing carried home,” was the most popular way to entertain guests and raise money. In ancient Rome, apophoreta was an important part of dinner entertainment, raising significant amounts for road construction and other government needs.

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