History of the Lottery

Throughout history, lotteries have been a popular way to distribute property. The practice of dividing property by lot is found in ancient scripture. Moses was even told to divide the land of Israel by lot to distribute it among the people. In the ancient Roman Empire, lotteries were common, primarily to give away slaves and property. In 1758, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts used a lottery to fund their “Expedition against Canada” during the American Revolution.


Today, people use the lottery for everything from housing units to kindergarten placement to big cash prizes. The National Basketball Association conducts a lottery for the 14 worst teams to determine who will be drafted in the next draft. The winning team has an opportunity to select the top college talent available in college. In the past, many major sports teams have used the lottery to determine which players to draft. In the United States, the largest lottery draws occur each day.

The first known recorded lotteries were in the 15th century. Low Countries towns held public lotteries to raise money for their defenses and the poor. While the practice may not be as popular today, it does have a very interesting history. For example, the National Basketball Association held a lottery in 1445 to determine its draft picks. The winning team has the right to pick the best college talent. The lottery has been around since ancient times.