History of the Lottery


During the French and Indian War, some colonies used lotteries to raise money for their defense. Benjamin Franklin organized a lottery to raise money for cannons to defend Philadelphia. A rare ticket bearing his signature sold for $15,000 in 2007.

The United States has 45 states and territories, with Puerto Rico having its own lottery. In addition to the national lottery, some states organize their own state lottery. In fact, the United States has the largest lottery sales in the world, with over $91 billion in fiscal year 2019.

The lottery has been used to raise money for many public projects. It is used to help with kindergarten placements, university scholarships, and sports team rosters. It also provides hope for the hopeless.

Lotteries were common in the Netherlands during the 17th century. They raised funds for roads, libraries, and fortifications. They were also used to raise funds for poor people. Some lotteries offered prizes in the form of “Pieces of Eight” or land.

During the 18th century, colonial America had 200 lotteries. These included Col. Bernard Moore’s “Slave Lottery” in 1769, which advertised prizes such as land and slaves.

The Virginia Company of London supported the settlement of America at Jamestown, and many private lotteries were held to raise money for the company. Some lotteries raised money for colleges, such as the University of Pennsylvania and Princeton University.

In the United States, lottery wins are subject to federal and state taxes. The federal tax bracket for winnings is 37 percent. Depending on the jurisdiction, the winnings may be taxed in a lump sum or in annuity payments.