The History of Raffles and the Lottery


The earliest recorded money-prize lotteries were held in the Low Countries during the 15th century. These public lotteries were held in various towns to raise money for town fortifications, and to help the poor. While some evidence suggests that there may have been earlier lottery games, these have not been documented. For example, a record from L’Ecluse, dated 9 May 1445, relates that a lottery was held for the raising of funds for the walls of the town. The prize was 1737 florins, or around US$170,000 in 2014.

Early American lotteries were simple raffles

Raffles have long been a popular form of fundraising. They have been used by individuals and heads of state for centuries to help raise money. The first recorded lottery in North America was held in Virginia in 1612. The proceeds from the drawing went to fund the community. Nowadays, you can still find raffles held by community groups and churches. Many also offer tickets for sale online.

By 1776, several lotteries operated in the thirteen colonies. Benjamin Franklin sponsored a lottery to raise money for cannons to defend Philadelphia from British forces. In 1769, Col. Bernard Moore ran a lottery where the prize was slaves and land.

Early American lotteries were tax-free

Tax-free early American lotteries were a popular form of early American fundraising. The First Continental Congress ran a lottery to raise money to help pay for the Revolutionary War. The prize money was the Continental Currency, a new form of money for the 13 colonies. During the Revolution, the value of this currency fluctuated greatly, making the lottery less than effective. However, with the help of the French, the colonies won the war.

Early American lotteries were often conducted by charitable organizations. For example, the Virginia Company sold lottery tickets for charitable purposes. These organizations often subsidized state governments by selling tickets.

Early American lotteries are based on chance

The earliest recorded lotteries in the United States were held during the Colonial Period. In 1612, the Virginia Company held a lottery in order to raise money to build the Jamestown colony. The winner was Thomas Sharplisse, who won 4,000 crowns – the equivalent of almost PS8 million today. The lottery was so popular that more colonies began funding their settlements with the proceeds. These lotteries helped build roads, canals, and public buildings. Many influential figures also sponsored lotteries.

Lotteries have long been associated with risk and chance. In fact, many early settlers considered it a civic duty to purchase a lottery ticket. These proceeds were used to build churches, schools, and libraries. In some colonies, lottery proceeds were even used to fund the American Revolution.

Early American lotteries are played in New York

In the early 1770s, several American lotteries were operating. Benjamin Franklin, for instance, sponsored an unsuccessful lottery to raise funds for cannons to protect Philadelphia against the British. Thomas Jefferson also obtained permission from the Virginia legislature to operate a private lottery. He and his heirs continued to hold the game after his death.

Early American lotteries are played in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, and New York State. The Virginia Company first held a lottery in the 16th century to raise funds for the colonial settlement of Jamestown. The lottery raised 4,000 crowns, a small fortune. The Virginia Company reorganized the lottery three years later, promoting the idea of white colonization for the common good. The lottery also marketed itself as a charitable act, as winning a prize would help save the soul of a savage.