Hitting a Creative Jackpot
As consumers we tend to view Lotteries and games of chance as relatively recent phenomena.
However, lotteries as such date back to biblical times, Caesar in ancient Rome and the Hun Dynasty in China circa 100 B.C. In China, the game we know as Keno was developed and during the Hun Dynasty, funds raised from lotteries were used for defence, most notably the building of the Great Wall of China. The first recorded use of the ‘lottery’ concept in Europe occurred in 1446 when the widow of the Flemish painter Jan Van Eyck held a raffle to dispose of unsold paintings. In 1465, lotteries were held in Belgium to build chapels, almshouses (housing for the poor), canals and port facilities. Cash prizes for lotteries were first recorded in 1530, in Florence, Italy where a ‘number lottery’ was held with winners receiving cash as prizes.. During the 1700’s many of the Founding Fathers of the U.S Constitution played and sponsored lotteries. Some examples:
• Benjamin Franklin used lotteries to finance cannons for the Revolutionary War.
• John Hancock operated a lottery to rebuild historic Faneuil Hall in Boston.
• George Washington operated a lottery to finance construction of the Mountain Road, which opened westward expansion from Virginia.
• Thomas Jefferson, $80,000 in debt at the end of his life, used a lottery to dispose of the bulk of his property.
During the 1700’s, lotteries flourished with the revenues used for a broad range of personal and public financing including the colonial army in the Thirteen Colonies as a means to fight the war with Britain and further including the financing of fifty colleges, 300 schools and 200 churches including universities such as Harvard, Yale, Princeton and Columbia. In 1726, the Netherlands formed a lottery that is still in operation today.
An early record of Canadian lotteries was noted in 1856 but that was a move to restrict them through legislation titled “The Act Concerning Lotteries.” This act...