A Brief History of the UK Lottery and its Charitable Efforts.


A Brief History of the UK Lottery and Similar Draws

If you are an avid lottery player, or casino goer, chances are, you have taken a chance on winning big. Did you know that in the UK, and in other countries, the earnings made from lotteries often go towards charitable causes? Some of these causes support organisations in the community dedicated to improving the health of the underserved, some support foundations that donate money to UK film makers and the arts, some donate proceeds to education, while others donate funds to sports organisations. These UK lottery games help support groups that are paying it forward to their community.

Lottery Origins in the UK and Beyond

There are approximately over 100 countries that have government-sponsored lotteries. Many people see the lottery as a means to voluntarily contribute to taxes. Thomas Jefferson, one of the founding fathers of the United States, being a big supporter of lotteries himself, described the lottery as a tax, “laid on the willing only!” In fact, the lottery became a popular means for the early settlements in the United States to raise money for government projects without raising taxes against the settlers. It was also a means to collect large sums of money quickly for colony-funded construction projects since the banks were located in London, meaning a long ocean journey there and back was required to get any necessary funds. Many of the first churches built in the United States were funded by lotteries, as was the construction of parts of several college and university campuses such as Harvard, Yale, Brown, Princeton, and Dartmouth. Columbia University was built primarily with funds raised from New York lotteries.

The UK lottery operates very similarly, though in addition to the larger lottery games, there are many smaller society lotteries that support local causes. It is estimated that an average 70% of UK adults play the lottery. The first lottery in the UK can be traced back to Queen Elizabeth I in 1566. It was introduced in order to raise funds for the British export markets. All proceeds raised went towards the building of ships and to develop ports. This first jackpot paid out in a combination of money, tapestries, expensive linens and other objects. Unfortunately, it took a while for the idea to catch on and in 1567, the queen sent out a decree that those who purchased lottery tickets would be guaranteed freedom from arrest for all crimes with the exception of murder, felonies, piracy, or treason. Unfortunately, this draw was not an instant success and it took three years before the drawing took place. Similar draws were held both in 1750 and 1826, but it wasn’t until much later that the lottery became a popular past time.

The Lottery in Montreal

The lottery was introduced to mainstream popularity in Quebec on March 14th 1970, though the first national lottery took place on June 12th 1982. This was due to the criminal code of Canada being amended to allow provinces to operate lottery schemes on December 23rd, 1969.  In 1972, the government of Canada created a lottery to help finance the Olympic games taking place in Montreal in 1976. Later, in 1979 the national government withdrew from the lottery industry in exchange for compensation being provided by the provinces. Much like the UK lottery, there are several forms of lottery sales that take place. Those wishing to have a flutter can purchase tickets directly from kiosks, or they can now buy tickets online and play digital lottery games.

The lottery provides a great chance to have a flutter while still supporting your local community and causes that you strike true to your heart. The UK lottery offers a wide selection of society lotteries, and there is sure to be a cause that strikes true for you, whether it be supporting your local film industry, supporting health charities, the arts, sports programmes, or other worthy causes.


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