Golden Ticket: The History of Lottery and why online is better than ever

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Ancient Lottery

The concept of lottery, of drawing lots, is a concept that has stretched back millennia. In the seventh book of the Iliad, the Achaean generals draw lots from a helmet to decide who has the honour of fighting the Trojan general Hector, Shepherd of Men. Similarly, the Romans drew lots for all sorts of things, most infamously for decimation. In the case of desertion in the military, legionnaires would draw lots, and whosoever drew the shortest straw would be executed, resulting in the death of 1 in 10 soldiers. The first recorded instance of a lottery in the sense we know it would be a raffle type lottery organised by the princeps Augustus Caesar to raise funds for repairing the city of Rome, rewarding the donors with items of unequal value. Thus was birthed the first form of the lottery that has us all watching balls rattle in a cage on our screens, or numbers being generated online.

The Lotto

Lotteries existed in various forms thereon, with several lotteries for monetary prizes taking place in the Middle Ages, again primarily for repairs in settlements like Utrecht and Bruges. The first known Italian lottery took place in Milan in 1449, held by the Golden Ambrosian Republic to fund a war against the Republic of Venice. However, the lotto as we know it began to gain traction in Genoa, betting on the names of the Great Council Members, 5 out of 90 candidates elected randomly every six months. This political betting is similar to the sorts of political betting that takes place nowadays on presidencies, referendums etc. Eventually, the Genoese got such a taste for the lotto that they wanted to bet more than twice a year, and so the candidates were replaced with just random numbers and so the lottery, as we know and love it, emerged.

Official Lotteries

Great official lotteries then followed. The first recorded official lottery in Britain was organised by Queen Elizabeth I in 1959, again for repairing and improving the realm’s public places and strongholds, with each ticket holding a prize in the vein of popular commodities such as silver. Many who could not afford a full ticket would buy a portion of a ticket, e.g. a Third or a Sixteenth of a ticket.

Colonial America’s funding lie mainly in the successful sanctioning of official lotteries. The financing of roads, churches and all sorts of other infrastructure, including the foundation of Pennsylvania, Columbia and Princeton Universities, was financed by over 200 lotteries between 1744 and 1776.

Fast forward 250 odd years and modern lotteries are in full swing. Britain’s official National Lottery was first acquired by the Camelot Group in 1994 and now millions of people bet on it daily, online and in Post Offices and newsagents and betting shops nationwide. But with all the potential sources of lottery tickets it is easier than ever to bet on the lottery as often as you’d like. The Genoese would be green with envy. But it begs the question, do I have any reason to distrust online lottery, and how is it better than any other form of lottery around nowadays?

Widest Selection

We’ve all done it. We’ve all gone into a newsagents or off-licence to get some booze or some smokes, even just some bread, milk or the paper, and see the lottery options in that little stand at the checkout. You’re like ‘what the hell?…’ and buy a ticket purely for the novelty, hoping you might get lucky. But then oftentimes, especially with streaks of bad luck, soon the choice of 4-8 lotteries gets boring and buying a ticket doesn’t really excite you. Well, with web lottery there is a practically unlimited selection. You get bored of one, and suddenly you browse the internet for all of ten minutes and you’ll find 100+ new exciting lotteries to get your fix.

Security and Timesaving

You can buy a ticket whenever you like with online web lotteries, and you have the freedom of checking the lottery whenever you like. You don’t have to wait for an inconveniently scheduled TV reveal, or go to the newsagents and find out. With web lotteries, you can buy your ticket, have it stored online, and never have to worry about losing the ticket or forgetting to check the lottery. Moreover, it means that you will never miss a lottery because you’re too busy. Nobody wants to have that ‘what if?…’ feeling when they skip a week.


It would be unbelievably irregular to walk into a newsagents and have them offer you a promotion on lottery tickets. A small time independent’s earnings off of selling lottery tickets would never be high enough for them to offer a deal or a sale. Meanwhile online, lotteries, lottery providers and middle man sites quite frequently offer promotions. Everything from free plays to VIP memberships to rewards schemes, they pull out all the stops to try and gain, and keep, loyal clientele.

Extra functionality

Many big online lotteries implement some form of extra bonus features to hook and keep their customers. Not only can these be exciting and enhance the novelty of the lotteries to keep your gambling itch scratched, but they can often have highly probable knock on effects for your game. You can enable double jackpots, auto betting, jackpot hunting, automatic rollover and even mechanically controlled syndicate group betting all to make lottery easier, more rewarding and more fulfilling for you.


One big point about choosing web lottery is it cuts down on paper. Imagine how many discarded lottery tickets get thrown into landfill every year. Imagine how much paper has to be collected and used by companies to distribute the tickets all over the country, for half of them to then not be bought, half forgotten and half dropped. The more successful web lottery becomes, the higher the chances of physical lottery becoming obsolete and less paper being expended.Overall, there seems to be not a lot of reason to stick with regular lottery given the advantages of web lottery, both for yourself and for society. Make the switch now and I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.

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