The first recorded lotteries offered tickets with money prizes. Several Low Countries towns held public lotteries to raise funds for the poor and town fortifications. However, it is possible that the first lotteries were even older. In a record from the town of L’Ecluse dated 9 May 1445, the lottery raises 4304 florins, which in today’s money is equal to about US$170,000.
The NASPL Web site lists nearly 186,000 retailers across the country, with most of them located in California, Texas, and New York. Three-fourths of these retails offer online lottery services. The majority of lottery retailers are convenience stores, but other lottery outlets include nonprofit organizations, service stations, restaurants, bars, and newsstands. The lottery is available in most states, but some do limit the number of retailers. Regardless of whether or not a retailer is allowed to sell lottery tickets, the NASPL Web site will help retailers understand the process of selling tickets.
A national survey conducted by the Lottery Research Institute (LRI) in July 2000 found that 65% of survey respondents viewed lotteries as an acceptable form of entertainment. Moreover, as Figure 7.4 shows, nearly three-quarters of respondents favor the operation of state lotteries. Lottery favorability is greatest among young adults and decreases with age. Sixty-four percent of respondents aged 35 to 54 are in favor of state lotteries.
Fortunately, online lotteries have become very popular, and many online websites offer similar features as brick-and-mortar retailers. Regulatory bodies in states like Massachusetts, New York, and New Hampshire have passed laws to regulate the sale of lottery tickets on the Internet. Meanwhile, Kentucky is working to implement its own laws. In the meantime, it is important to keep in mind that a lottery game is never 100% safe. If you are unsure of whether or not a site is safe, check the FAQ section of the site to determine whether it is trustworthy.
While the purchase of a lottery ticket may not provide an immediate monetary gain, the lottery prize can be an important source of wealth for a family. In 2001, a California woman lost the jackpot and sought lottery officials’ advice. She filed for divorce before receiving her first annuity check, but she did not disclose the money as an asset in the divorce proceedings. Her ex-husband later discovered the money during the divorce proceedings and obtained 100% of the prize, plus attorney’s fees.
A winning lottery prize can be paid in a lump sum or as an annuity. In the United States, winning lottery prizes are not subject to personal income tax, though the amount of these amounts can vary depending on the jurisdiction. One-time payments can be worth much less than a lottery jackpot when taken into account the time value of money and income tax. And there are also other regulations affecting lottery payouts. If you win, be sure to read the fine print!
Throughout Europe, there are many different lotteries. According to the World Lottery Association, around 75 lotteries operate in the European market. Depending on the country, Europe is one of the largest lottery markets in the world, accounting for 40-50% of global lottery sales. The five most popular lotteries in 2003 were Spain, Japan, France, Italy, and the United Kingdom. In 2004, these countries joined forces to create a national lottery called Euro Millions.