History of Lottery Funding


The earliest lotteries were held in colonial America, where they were used to fund schools, roads, and libraries. The lottery also funded the construction of canals and bridges. The lottery was also used to fund university institutions, such as Princeton and Columbia. The Academy Lottery of 1755 helped fund the University of Pennsylvania. During the French and Indian Wars, several colonies used lotteries to raise money for public projects. One lottery in Massachusetts was used to fund an expedition against Canada.

The Pennsylvania state legislature hopes that the lottery will generate $250 million over five years, but legal problems may sideline the project. Seven Pennsylvania casinos sued the state over the PA iLottery, arguing that the instant game is too similar to their online slot machines. Likewise, the Rhode Island Lottery was created after a constitutional amendment was passed in 1974. Eighty-three percent of the lottery’s proceeds go to winners. The rest is split between commissions, general fund, and lottery operation costs.

The first recorded lotteries began in Ancient China, where they were held for a variety of public needs. The Han Dynasty, for example, held public lotteries to fund the construction of the Great Wall. The Roman Empire also had lotteries, though they were mostly used for entertainment during dinner parties. In the year 1445, the city of L’Ecluse held a lottery to raise money for its fortifications and walls. The winners received articles of unequal value.