Lottery History – The Luckiest Draws from Ancient Times Until Present Day

There is no other feeling like seeing that your lottery ticket wins the jackpot. We went deep into the lottery history and found the roots of this great game. In our article, you can see how it spread and evolved until the present days, and what are the largest prizes that ever fell.
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In this article, you will find records taken from the National Lottery results history and lotto games from around the world. You can learn what the odds of getting the mega jackpots at the best lotteries are. We also gave you a few good tips that could help you sign your name in the hall of the lottery winners. But before all this, we will start with the beginning of the lottery game.

Lottery Games Through Time

What is a lottery? The definition of lottery (lotto) is a form of gambling that involves the random drawing of numbers for a prize. Most of the largest lotteries today are held, regulated, and operated by the government. There are also private lottery organisations that are part of charities. The best thing is that you can play in-store and via the best lotto online websites at any time.

Today, this gambling game is accessible to all and in almost all countries in the world. Do you know that there is more information about the first lotto draws ever than the lottery result history? This is just one of the interesting facts about this popular game. Read on if you wish to find out how this exciting game transformed into the modern money-maker.

Lotto Games Around the World in Ancient Times

The land that gave us the modern paper, noodles, playing cards, and Kung-Fu movies is also the birthplace of the lottery. This happened in the years between 205-187 BC when the Han Dynasty needed extra finances for the construction of the Great Wall of China. The architecture endeavour was one of the major government projects in the history of the world even today.

The Chinese “The Book of Songs” holds a reference to a game of chance which required “the drawing of wood”. The wooden tiles drawn by the Chinese players held numbers, and the lucky winner received a good prize. This practice was kept for many other situations when the government needed the help of the people’s money.

Ancient Rome Colosseum

Even though China is marked as the cradle of the modern lotto, a similar game was played in the Roman Empire about the same time.

The first lottery on the European continent was part of the amusements for the guests of the wealthy Romans. Each guest that arrived at a dinner party received a ticket with a number. Later on, each number was drawn, and the holder received a prize.

The Roman Emperor, Augustus Caesar, recognised the opportunities given by the lotto games and organised the first Roman lottery. Unlike the dinner party game, this lottery required the players to buy the ticket. Just like in China, the funds were distributed for repairs in the City of Rome, and the winners received symbolic prizes. Yes, in the past it did not exist such a thing as gambling luck that transforms commoners into lotto millionaires overnight.

Medieval & Renaissance Lottery History

Our trip through lottery history continues in the vast lands of northern Europe. Here, in the Low Countries (Netherlands, Flanders, and Belgica) is the next trace of the lottery game. In the 15th century, the locals rose funds to build walls and town fortifications. A couple of centuries later lotteries were a common practice.

During the 17th century, in the Netherlands, lotteries collected money for the poor or a wide range of public usages. Today, the Dutch state-owned Staatsloterij lotto is the oldest running lottery. Today, the Scandinavian countries are a hot place for playing lottery games and Danish players, for instance, can enjoy some of the top lotto sites and online casinos in Denmark.

Moving further south, we find the first recorded Italian lottery. On 9 January 1449, the Golden Ambrosian Republic in Milan held this event. The funds were needed to finance the war against the Republic of Venice. Inspired by his neighbours, King Francis I of France created and held the first Loterie Royale in 1539. Here, once more, were collected charitable gambling funds and money for the country and the army.

Queen Elisabeth I

The first lottery results history of England date back to the rule of Queen Elizabeth I. The queen conducted the first UK lottery in the year 1566, and the first draw was in 1569. Each ticket holder won a prize, and the money from the game went for the “reparation of the havens and strength of the Realme, and towards such other publique good workes”.

The first English State Lottery ran from 1694 until 1826 when it ended because of the opposition in the parliament.

German-speaking countries also had their version of this game of chance. The first big lottery on German soil was held in 1614 in Hamburg. Austria’s citizens had to wait for over a hundred years to try their luck. It was in 1751, during the reign of Empress Maria Theresia when the Lotto di Genova was drawn. Unlike the rest of the games, this lottery was based on 90 numbers, which is almost double the amount of the standard lotto. This is one of the differences between the gambling laws and rules in Germany and the rest of the world.

The first Spanish lottery game was played in 1763. The next centuries turned playing lottery into a tradition. Ever since 1812, the Spanish Public Administration organises Lotería de Navidad (Spanish Christmas Lottery). The modern name of the Christmas lotto game, Sorteo de Navidad, was used for the first time in 1892.

The lottery took over even the New World. King James I authorised the English lottery in 1612 to grant the Virginia Company of London the right to raise money. As always, the funds aimed to help the establishment of the new settlers in the first permanent English colony at Jamestown, Virginia. Later on, the game spread and was held by private citizens as entertainment or for profit. The history remembers even the Col. Bernard Moore’s “Slave Lottery” held in 1769. The prizes here were land and slaves, and the announcement was made in The Virginia Gazette.

The Modern Lotto and its Incredible Jackpots

Modern Lottery

If we are looking for the beginning of the modern lotto, then it is during the 1880s. This was the time when many countries adopted government-run lotteries and unified the standards. The lottery draw history is easy to follow after this point. As for the prizes, they became larger and better as time went by. The lottery spread all around the world and in many forms, such as the best online scratchcards sites which offer a wide variety of instant-win games, similar to lotto. Now, there are just a few countries that do not offer a version of this game of chance.

Today, the lotto games are held mainly for entertainment, and the prizes reach incredible heights. The most popular games are accessible to anyone and every ticket could bring astonishing jackpots. In the lottery numbers history, some numbers are drawn more frequently than others. Many players take that opportunity and bet on a certain number. Other gamblers prefer to place their bets on their birthdays, important dates, or even random numbers.

The Biggest Lottery Winners in the World

What makes people go crazy for the lottery? The answer is simple – the incredible jackpots and material prizes. The number one in the single winners’ lottery history list in the largest lottery jackpots in US history belongs to Mavis Wanczyk. She played the Chicopee, Massachusetts’ Powerball and won $758.7 Million on August 23, 2017.

The lottery numbers history shows that France is the country with most lottery winners due to the EuroMillions. Ever since Euro lotto launched, 83 of the biggest wins went to France, and this number includes 23.4% jackpot wins. Spain holds second place with 80% jackpots winners, and 22.5% of all EuroMillions jackpot wins in total.

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The first UK lotto win occurred on 19th November 1994. The people got inspired by the lottery’s slogan “It Could Be You” and bought 48,965,792 tickets. The lucky ticket holders were 1,152,611 and shared the prize fund of over £22 million. If you wish to try your luck, then here are the lucky numbers drawn: 3, 5, 14, 22, 30, and 44. Play, and you might become one of the 5,700 millionaires created by the UK National lottery since 1994.

In the table below you can see the largest lottery jackpots that ever dropped. We excluded Miss Wanczyk because even though her prize was great, there is an even higher jackpot won in the USA. The rest of the players are from all around the world, and that is why their prizes are written in the original currency of their country. We added a GBP conversion of the biggest lotto wins for your convenience.

Prize Lottery Info Winners Date Country
$1.586 Billion
(almost £1.200
Billion)
Powerball (USA) The world’s largest jackpot Split between three winners 13th January 2016 USA
€185 Million
(£161 Million)
EuroMillions One winner form Scotland One winner form Scotland 12th July 2011 United Kingdom
RMB¥ 570 Million
(almost £66
Million)
China Welfare Lottery Biggest Asian & China lotto prize One winner from Beijing 12th June 2012 China
R$244 Million
(£36+ Million)
Mega-Sena South America’s largest prize Prize split between three winners 31st December 2012 Brazil
A$150 Million
(almost £85
Million)
Powerball (Australia) Australia’s highest lottery prize Prize won by three winners 19th December 2019 Australia

As we can see from the table, the prizes fall in all sizes all around the world, and every pocket is perfectly good for them. Whether you are a solo player or part of a lottery syndicate, we wish you luck in the draws.

How to Win the Lottery?

If you wish to sign your name into the lottery history, then the best way to do so is by winning fairly. It is true that, at first glance, the chance to win the lottery may seem slim to none, but the numbers state something else. The probability of winning varies widely depending on the lottery design. There are a few more factors, like the count and order of the drawn winning numbers drawn. It is also important if the drawn numbers are returned to the pool to be drawn again or not.

Lottery Jackpot Winning Chance
🏆 6-from-49 lotto 1 in 13,983,816
🏆 UK National Lottery 1 in 45,057,474
🏆 EuroMillions 1 in 139,838,160
🏆 Mega Millions 1 in 258,890,850
🏆 Powerball 1 in 292,201,338
🏆 SuperEnalotto 1 in 622,614,630

In the table, we gave you the standard probability of getting the jackpot in the biggest lottery games around the world. The odds may seem against you, but the stories of the jackpot winners prove that anything is possible. In the next paragraph, we summarised the advises from the lotto winners and the lottery experts.

Tips from the Lotto Winners

The most important thing is to pick the lottery that gives you the best chances for winning. Some games accumulate large jackpots, while others give frequent prizes. The “lottery Goldilocks zone” is a game that has a large jackpot and frequently dropping smaller prizes. The lottery games with best odds in the world are the Powerball odds followed by EuroMillions odds that bring and largest prizes.

The second advice is directed to the lottery ticket purchase. It is good to buy tickets regularly or get a multi-draw ticket if you play with the same numbers every time. Another option is to buy more than one ticket for each draw. This may dig in your pocket, but it could also bring a larger prize in the end. The last option is to join a syndicate because the lottery draw history shows that 20% of all lottery jackpots are won by groups or syndicates.

Lucky Numbers

Third, pick the lotto numbers wisely. Here, there are no strict rules, but most serious lotto players have reached to the conclusion that you should avoid picking consecutive numbers.

Some numbers are luckier than others. This is due to cultural or personal superstitious beliefs, but also to the observation that some numbers are drawn more frequently than others.

The fourth advice is to use your brain and math skills. This is what Jerry and Marge Selbee did to gross over $26 million and $8 million in pre-tax profit. Jerry used his outstanding mathematical skills to figure out how the new lottery game works and calculated his winning strategy. He purchased tickets and doubled his invested money with the prize. The couple continued to play until the authorities noticed them. Their winnings were legal, so the retired couple kept their profit. Marge and Jerry ceased their gaming days and sold the rights for their story to be transformed into a movie.

Sometimes there are quite crazy lottery winner stories. Our example is not the biggest lottery winner in history, but it is a story about luck, politeness, and a tip. The adventure to riches of a New York cop who won the lottery and gave half his prize as a tip to a waitress can be seen in the movie, ‘It Could Happen to You’ (1984). This real-life event shows that the people who are born with integrity and kindness towards others are always rewarded.

Lottery History Frequently Asked Questions

The lottery history started over 2000 years ago. Ever since it was created, it brought tears of joy and sorrow to the players. You can read more about the history of the lotto games in our article, because here we will answer the most popular questions about lottery, lotto games, and winners.

🏺 Who created the lottery?

The lottery history begins during the time of the Han Dynasty over 2000 years ago. A bit later in Europe, the Ancient Romans began playing raffle lottery as an entertainment. Later on, the game spreads around the world used by rulers to collect funds for charity, economics, and defence projects.

🤑 What is the biggest lottery win in history?

This question has two answers depending on the people who guessed the winning numbers. The single biggest lottery winner in history so far is the $1.586 Billion (almost £1.200 Billion) Powerball jackpot won by three ticket holders. Check our article to learn about other record-breaking jackpots around the world.

🏆 Which lottery gives the largest prizes?

The lottery results history has records of skyrocketing jackpots that reach hundreds of millions and even billions. The lottery largest prizes drop from lotto games with good odds like Powerball. You can see the list of the most popular lotteries and the chance to win them in our article.

🔮 How to win the lottery?

"How to win the lottery" is the biggest question here. We listed the best tips given by lottery winners and experts. There is no need to do difficult mathematical calculations or to watch every lottery draw history has. Just read and follow the simple tips, and you may be the next to win the big prize.

💰 Who is the biggest lotto winner ever?

The USA National Lottery results history states that the single jackpot winner in the entire world is Mavis Wanczyk. She played the Powerball lottery and won the astonishing $758.7 Million. So far, this is the biggest prize won by one ticket holder in the history of the modern lottery games.

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