When it comes to games of chance, few are more popular than the lottery. The very word ‘lottery’ comes from the Dutch word ‘lot’, which means ‘fate’, and basically perfectly surmises what the game is all about.

Despite how popular lotteries around the world are though, few players actually know the origins of their favourite game. Today, we thought we’d rectify this by giving you guys a brief history of lotteries around the world.

Though the Dutch created the term we now know in the 15th century, lotteries existed long beforehand. In fact, there is evidence that the Ancient Chinese Western Han Dynasty had a lottery-esque game as far back as 200BC.

The game was known as ‘the white pigeon game’ and was very similar to keno, though the name was based on the fact birds were used to send draw results to surrounding villages. Money raised during the white pigeon game is said to have been used to fund the Great Wall of China’s creation.

Meanwhile, Ancient Romans were also getting in on the action, though money raised during their lotteries was used slightly differently.


Elites would often hold draws at fancy dinner parties with luxurious prizes on hand for any and all winners.

Augustus Caesar enjoyed lotteries so much that he introduced one to the city of Rome in 35BC, with proceeds going towards the maintenance of local streets and buildings.

Later in the Middle Ages, the areas that now make up Belgium and the Netherlands established their own lotteries (which also explains how the word lottery was coined).

Soon after, Milan began running a lottery to fund war efforts against Venice, while over in Genoa they were finally drawing numbers rather than names in their lotteries.

While Europe was adopting new lotteries all over the place, England was only just setting up its first lottery in 1569.

The event was such a celebrated affair that Queen Elizabeth herself drew the winning balls, and winners were given different amounts of money raised from ticket sales.

By the time New Amsterdam (aka New York City) was all set up over in the USA, most European countries had some form of lottery.


In 1655, New Amsterdam natives themselves organised a lottery and continued the tradition that would go on to fund campaigns for many of the countries founding fathers.

Of course, lotteries evolved and changed over the years but to this day they remain incredibly popular.

For decades, lotteries have been televised and once the internet came around lotteries became an important part of the online gaming industry. More recently, the ability for players all around the globe to bet on the outcomes of numerous world lotteries has become a reality.

Usually, this is done via online sites such as Lottoland where players can bet on lottery results rather than buy tickets, many of which are available on multiple platforms including smartphone, tablet and desktop.

While the history of lotteries is a lot more intricate and interesting than one may assume, we believe that the future could be even more brilliant.

After all, if lotteries have managed to stick around for over 2200 years, they’re sure to stay around for a lot longer.