What are lotteries?
A lottery is a form of gambling whereby the player purchases a stake, or ‘ticket' in an eventual draw at a later date. When this date comes around the organisers of the lottery draw out a number, series of numbers or otherwise a specific code. This is then measured against the tickets which have been purchased by the player. If one of the players has a partial or complete match of their ticket and the complete code they are then given a portion of winnings. These winnings increase with a greater match between their ticket and the drawn code.
There is a lot of discrepancy when it comes to the types of codes on offer with lotteries. The most simple codes come in the form of a straight sequence of numbers. More complicated codes can includes text or even images.
The total prize pool for lotteries can be fixed, but more often the prize pool depends on the amount of tickets sold. This is because when a fixed pool is used the organiser can run the risk of losing money if not enough tickets are sold. More common is a form of lottery where the total prize pool is drawn from a percentage of the total money gained from tickets. This means that the more tickets sold the greater the prize pool. It also means that there is no financial risk for the organiser if few tickets are sold.
The percentage of money that goes into the prize pool depends on the lottery itself. Commonly the percentage given is a 50-50 split. This means that 50% of the profit goes back to the players and 50% goes into the organisers. In larger lotteries such as those adopted nation-wide a portion of this profit will go back into the community.
Important Lottery Information
In general terms the larger lotteries have only a small chance of generating a win. Given that the amount that can be won is often incredibly high they remain popular.
The biggest winners on record have drawn from the US power-ball lottery. These winners took home a total of $218.6 million each. Such an amount of money that most of us can barely comprehend. This usually high payout was possible because of the nature of the lottery they entered. This prize-pool was taken from an entire country of lottery entrances. This meant not only was the pool high, but the chances of winning were extremely slim.
The popular game Keno can also be seen as a sub-type of lottery, with a greater focus on choosing your own numbers. More on Keno here
Where does the lottery come from?
The earliest recorded forms of lottery are found, as with many inventions, in ancient China. Here the Han Dynasty, around 200 B.C, used keno slips. These were believed to be used in order to pay for major government projects. In fact these were thought to be a contributing factor to the building of the Great Wall of China.
Modern European lotteries are thought to have a basis in the Roman Empire. Tickets would be given out at simple events like dinner parties. The gifts from these early lotteries would also be simple, such as plates and cups. It was also the Romans who were though to have been the creators of the first European paid lotteries, under Augustus Caesar.
Common forms of Lottery
The forms of lottery most are familiar with are the larger ones which are in part sponsored, or supported, by entire countries. By having the government involved the idea is to take a portion of the profits for government projects, much like the Han dynasty. This also allows the government to keep a close eye on how the game operates, to ensure fairness.
The smaller forms of lottery offered by gaming websites and casinos alike tend towards smaller prize-pools, but can be much faster with draws. These can also often have a lot in the way of bonus prizes.