Would it surprise you to learn that lotteries played an important role in financing and founding the first colonies in what is now the United States? King James I granted the Virginia Company of London the use of lotteries to finance not only Jamestown (America’s original colony), but also the crossing of the Mayflower in 1620. Lotteries have been a popular type of game for centuries, as much as us. They use municipal bonds today, most often managed by governments and cities, and date back to the Chinese Han dynasty from 205 to 187 BC.
In the early days of America, records show that more than 200 lotteries were allowed between 1744 and the American Revolution, and these lottery games played a vital role in financing roads, libraries, churches, universities, bridges, and other public works. . Some of the first prestigious universities, such as Princeton, Columbia University, Harvard, and the University of Pennsylvania, got their original funding from lotteries. And like future “war bonds,” lotteries also played a role in supporting war efforts during the French and Indian Wars and the American Revolution. Rare lottery tickets bearing George Washington’s signature can still be found, and numerous founding fathers of our country participated and sponsored them, encouraging the general public to participate. However, the game took on an air of immorality in the latter part of the 19th century, when moral reforms (such as temperance, labor reform, women’s rights, and the abolition of slavery) gained traction and groups religious began to demand the prohibition of any form. of gambling, which like alcohol, only drove it underground as card and dice games became the secret games of choice. Once World War II ended, the state of Nevada legalized gambling in Las Vegas (with a little help from organized crime), and the rest, as they say, is history.
In Western Europe, the history of the lottery dates back to the matka 1400s when France gave birth to its popularity. This initiative was followed by King Francis I of France, who allowed lotteries to operate from 1520. Seeing their success in 1567, Queen Elizabeth I of England established what is believed to be the first British state lottery, with the prize in cash along with some tangible goods, and thus began the success and use of lotteries in England and the Colonies.