It’s not known exactly when lottery games began, but the first recorded lotteries occurred in the Low Countries. Public lotteries were held to fund town fortifications and help the poor. Records from that time period indicate that lottery games might have been around much earlier, as the earliest mention of a lottery dates from 1445 in the town of L’Ecluse. This lottery raised funds for repairs in the city of Rome and prize money was in the form of unequally valued articles.
While the history of US lotteries is much shorter than that of many other countries, it is worth noting that it’s been a highly prohibitionist time. While some states have legalized online lotteries, many still prohibit the use of credit cards to pay for lottery tickets. In many cases, big prizes must be collected at a lottery office in person. In most cases, however, lottery winnings are much smaller than in other countries, but even in those cases, big payouts are still possible.
Other states have chosen to launch their lottery games through a legislative process. Most states have added formal language to their lottery laws, such as “including online sales,” to protect themselves against future administrations challenging their legality. However, Washington D.C. and Rhode Island have bypassed this process, stating that their existing laws already allow them to sell online. Of these, only five states do not have any lottery. And if you’re interested in playing a lottery in your state, it is recommended that you familiarize yourself with your lottery law.