The oldest lottery that exists today
History – Lotteries have been in play for many years, in many different forms, but have you ever wondered where and when the first known lottery was? There is very little consolidated information on this, but if you are patient you can find interesting stories that share very old recorded lotteries. It seems that the first recorded signs of a lottery were in China on keno slips between 205 and 187 BC, believed to have been created to finance the build of the Great Wall of China.
Keno – A lottery-like gambling game often played at modern casinos and also a game in some lotteries.
The first European Lottery recorded selling tickets was by the Roman Emperor, Augustus Caesar (27BC to 14 AD). The monies earned were used to fund repairs in the City of Rome, the prizes being articles rather than money. Further research shows that the first recorded lotteries with prizes in the form of money were held in the coastal countries of Western Europe, consisting mainly of the Netherlands and Belgium (known as the Low Countries) during the 15th century. One recorded lottery was held in May 1445, in order to raise funds to build a wall and fund town repairs. The lottery sold 4304 tickets and the total prize money was the equivalent of approximately USD170,000. Lotteries were an easy method for governments to collect tax money.
Today – To date the oldest running lottery is the Dutch lottery known as the Staatsloterij. The Staatsloterij has been running since 1726. It started in The Hague, when the very first Netherlands Lottery was introduced by the Netherlands Parliament. During the first 100 years of its existence it changed names until the name Staatsloterij was settled on in 1848. Today this lottery is still in existence, and is very popular in the Netherlands with over half the population taking part in it. 60% of the income made from ticket sales is returned to customers in prize money and offers one of the best odds of winnings amongst lotteries with an average of 50% of players winning a prize. The Staatsloterij is a unique type of lottery as it is not a traditional jackpot draw type, but is a sweepstake type lottery much like that of the El Gordo in Spain (you can read more about El Gordo here).
The Staatsloterij draws take place 14 times each year on the 10th of every month, with 2 additional draws on the 30th of April (Koninginnedagtrekking) and 31st of December (Oudejaarstrekking). The bare minimum jackpot prize offered is always 7.5million Euros. A player can choose to play for all the prizes including jackpot or all the prizes excluding the jackpot. Unlike most many lotteries worldwide that can be played online from anywhere in the world, the Staatsloterij can only be played by people living in the Netherlands. This however, does not mean that players outside the Netherlands cannot play any lottery within the Netherlands, as there is the Euro Jackpot that can be played by anyone.
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