Throughout history, lotteries have helped fund numerous public projects. They have also provided economic benefits for the lottery industry. In addition to helping fund public projects, lotteries also help raise funds for good causes. In fact, the World Lottery Association (WLA) is a philanthropic organization that serves as an umbrella for over 150 state-authorized lotteries across six continents. WLA serves as a resource for its member lotteries and protects the industry from corruption and other issues.
Lotteries were first organized in the Roman Empire, where the Emperor Augustus arranged a lottery to raise funds for repairs to the City of Rome. Lotteries in the Netherlands also appeared in the 17th century. During the French and Indian Wars, various colonies used lotteries to raise funds for their war efforts. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts, for instance, used a lottery to raise funds for “Expedition against Canada” in 1758.
Lotteries were also used to raise funds for libraries and colleges. In colonial America, there were at least 200 lotteries between 1744 and 1776. In addition, several states used lotteries to fund public projects such as schools, roads and bridges.
The Chinese Book of Songs describes a game of chance as “drawing of wood” or “drawing of lots.” Lotteries are believed to have helped finance major government projects in the Chinese Han Dynasty, 205-187 BC. Records from the town of L’Ecluse indicate that a lotterie was held on 9 May 1445 to raise funds for fortifications.