Lottery is a game of chance. It is a form of gambling that involves the drawing of numbers “ and the person (or persons) holding a stub with the exact same numbers drawn wins the grand prize. The legality of lottery varies from one country to another. In some countries, lotteries are banned and considered illegal, whereas in some countries, governments and other public or private institutions fully support this activity.
Historians believe that lottery existed even as far back as the Han Dynasty between the years 205 and 187 BC. Ancient Keno slips were said to have been discovered in China and proceeds derived from this game may have helped finance the construction of various government projects such as the Great Wall of China.
Today Lottery, in one form or another, is played in almost all of the countries in the world. The prize money varies from a few hundred to up to hundreds of thousands and even billions. Researches show that three lotteries from the United States: New York State, Massachusetts and Texas lotteries are included in the 10 largest lotteries in the world with prize winnings of $5.7 billion, $4.3 billion and $3.2 billion up for grabs respectively. However, it is interesting to note that despite the large prize money, the NY State lottery only ranked 6th. The Massachusetts lottery ranked 6th and the Texas Lottery ranked 10th. The largest lotteries in the world can be found in Spain, Japan, France, Italy and the United Kingdom.
The Loterias y Apuestas del Estado in Spain is the largest in the world with possible winnings of about $10.4 billion. Following closely is Japan’s Mizuho Bank Ltd Lottery which is just a mere $0.2 billion short of Spain’s pot money. Bettors at France’s La Francaise des Jeux, the world’s 3rd largest lottery, stand to win $9.8 billion, while lottery enthusiasts in Italy vie for the $8.9 billion pot. The fifth largest lottery in the world is the National Lottery in the United Kingdom with $8.2 billion up for grabs. The Kookmin Bank Lottery in Korea offers $4.3 billion as a prize (ranked 8th) and Italy’s Sisal Sports Italia S.p.A. lottery (ranked 9th) has a pot of $3.3 billion.
Revenue generated from lotteries may be used for various purposes. In some instances, proceeds are used to fund government projects (such was the case in China), and in other cases, proceeds are either donated to or used by charitable institutions for their out-reach programs.