The influence of lotteries has been around for hundreds of thousands of years.  It might be safe to say that the roots of lotteries go back as far as ancient scriptural time as the Bible refers many times to people “casting lots”.  The very first documented lottery organized to offer a cash prize was in the 16th century in Florence, Italy.  It was originally known as the Lotto de Firenze and quickly spread throughout the countryside.  Italy’s lottery today is still called Lotto and its influence can be seen throughout the world as the lottery in the United States and in other countries is also called lotto today.   

Lottos were quite popular, especially amongst communities, churches and other organizations as they tended to be used for charitable and civic purposes.  Lotteries were often held to raise money for building churches, schools, community structures, bridges, etc. however, today lotteries are mostly run by the government or individual states.  Except for a short stint in the mid-19th century where disfavor fell upon lotteries, the lotto continued to grow in popularity.  By the 20th century, especially into the 80’s and 90’s the lotto was all the rage.  Because of contention that often arises over money, lotteries today are strictly regulated and overseen by state governments or outlawed all together.

Perhaps their popularity stemmed from the idea that a $1 ticket could ultimately change your life.  The lottery is something that people of all walks of life and all ages (over 18) can enjoy…fun mixed with suspense and perhaps a winning jackpot equals a recipe for success! In the United States, annual lotto sales have reached into the billions of dollars.  That’s a lot of people buying a lotto ticket! One of the great things about lottery games is that in many states, a large portion the income generated from ticket sales are donated to the state’s educational programs.  Because of cutbacks, however, this extra generated money tends to replace, rather than supplement government funding for schools resulting in no extra money for the public school system.            

So if you’re feeling lucky or just want to help the public school system while giving your chance to win the big bucks, go buy a lottery ticket for a $1.  Who knows… that dollar could make you a millionaire!