Ever since the term ‘lottery’ was penned, to today’s matured versions filled with bonuses and betting, the game we all know and love has come a long way from its origins.
When it comes to the origins of the lottery, the true starting point is one open for debate. While the first ever appearance of the lottery was in ancient China, there were various versions of the game found in Europe too, where the first recognisable versions of Lottery were seen in Holland and Belgium.
But first, back to China. The Han dynasty that took place between 205 and 187 BC was rumoured to have a form of lottery that ultimately funded the Great Wall of China. However, the only source of this came from a collection of Chinese poems – the earliest collection, to be exact – that was known as the Book of Songs.
The game then spread to Europe, though it’s unknown the exact date on which this happened. Rome was in need of repairs, and what better way to drum up the funds for exactly that than by a lottery? A Roman emperor, Ceasar Augustus, was the known source from which the game was introduced, and he even went about organising smaller lottery draws for dinner party guests.
However, it wasn’t until the 15th century that we really saw Lottery as we know it start to come to fruition. Paper tickets were issued in Brussels, Belgium to give people the chance to win a space in the daily markets, and in Sluis in Holland, over 4,300 tickets were sold in order to raise money to build up town infrastructure and to help those in need. The prize for this lottery was 1,737 florins!
Genoa, Italy, was the next to evolve the game of lottery, offering people the opportunity to bet on names of council members and which five would be drawn from a pool of around ninety. These draws were so popular, in fact, that they went on to change these names to numbers and make it more than a bi-annual event – and the rest, as they say, is history.
With practically every country having their own form of lottery and even the EuroMillions offering the opportunity for countries across Europe to all bet on the same lottery, there’s no denying that the game has come a long way since its days in China.
However, with the digital age has come the opportunity to offer a whole new way of playing. While most online games are crafted to offer an easier, more accessible style of play, improving on an already simple game may seem like a pointless action, but the fact of the matter is very different indeed.
In fact, online lottery games give players better access to information with minimal effort and websites dedicated to national, international and online lottery draws are making the game more accessible than ever.
The UK National Lottery, for example, has a website dedicated to providing information and the opportunity to buy tickets, and that isn’t the only lottery doing just that – in fact, a handful of US states also offer this online access which is not only making it available to the masses, but convenient too. Online lotteries can offer new ways of playing too, with extra bonuses, draws, quirks and prepayment options to add a new level of fun to an otherwise traditional game.
The lottery is just as popular today as it has been in the past few decades, if not more so. With online accessibility, additional bonuses and ways of winning, and bigger jackpots than ever before, people are being drawn into the game more and more. However, with the probability of winning being so low, why do we keep going back for more?
Dr. Wendy Walsh told CNN in 2011, that people love to have a rescue fantasy, and that this could very well be the reason that we are so drawn to playing the lottery. Living with hope is hardly a bad thing, but when that hope is that we’ll win a jackpot, is it really enough?
The hope that we’ll be ‘rescued’ from financial troubles can lead us to spend money on a lottery ticket that may or may not get us the money we’ve been needing and despite losing in most cases, that hope never quite goes away and we try again and again and again.
Despite the low probability of winning a traditional lottery draw, the world is being graced with more and more ways to win when it comes to lottery games. Whether it’s matching a few numbers rather than all of them, new raffle draws to accompany your number picks, or even extra bonuses available with online lottery games, the future of the game could see more and more winners than ever before. It’s all a matter of time.
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