The World Game has been around for much longer than most people would ever imagine, and its history can be traced right back to the Han Dynasty in China which started around 206 BC. The evidence for this comes in the form of receipts for a keno-style game that experts say was offered as a way to finance the construction of the Great Wall of China.
There are less scientific claims that lottery-type activities had been around even before that, with ‘the casting of lots’ being used to make decisions according to fate, luck or ‘the will of the gods’, depending on your point of view. Whilst casting lots in this biblical sense wasn’t something that people did to try and win cash jackpots, many commentators agree that it certainly looks like it could be an ancient ancestor of the modern world lottery draw.
Whether one agrees that ‘casting lots’ is a valid precursor to modern lotteries or not, the Han Dynasty evidence alone is enough to justify the claim that lotteries have been around in one form or another for a couple of millennia at the very least. Of course, the format of lottery games and the motivation for playing them has evolved since then, but the basic principles are the same as they have always been; participants agree to put some aspect of their fate in the hands of a randomly-determined outcome, often with the hope of gaining something much better should fortune favour them.
Modern World Lottery with Augustus Caesar
The earliest known 'modern format' lottery game which involved the sale of tickets in return for the chance to win a prize of greater value was introduced by Augustus Caesar, who used the game to raise money to help rebuild Rome. The prizes here were tangible items rather than cash, so modern players would probably describe this game as a raffle-style lottery.
Queen Elizabeth I introduced the lottery to England in the 16th century. The first draw took place in 1596 and the purpose of the game was to raise money for a variety of good causes, or in the official parlance of the time, ‘publique good workes.’ Less than two decades later, a lottery was organised to raise money to fund a colony of English settlers on the other side of the Atlantic, in Jamestown, Virginia.
Money for Good Causes
Although the rules of world lottery draws have changed over the centuries (we doubt that Augustus Caesar ever knew what a Bonus Ball was) the principle of using lottery games to raise money for good causes of various kinds is something that hasn’t changed very much at all. That’s why the Powerball lottery operator states that: ‘All profits are retained by the state lottery and are used to fund projects approved by the state legislatures’, whilst 35% of money that is raised by Mega Millions in a given member state is used to support government services in that state.
With lotteries having such a long history of raising money for worthwhile projects and various good causes, it is not surprising that the lottery became the World Game that it is today. It is also a very good bet that the World Game will continue to raise even more money to meet similar objectives in the decades and perhaps even the centuries to come. And if all of that doesn’t make you proud to be a World Lottery Draw player, nothing will!