Lottery History


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The History of EuroMillions Lottery

Although the first traces of lottery throughout history were found approximately 200 BC during the Chinese Han Dynasty in the form of Keno slips, it is a long-standing European tradition to hold continental lotteries. As far as is known, these Chinese lotteries were aimed to help in the funding of government developments. There are several additional records of lots being drawn such as a reference to a draw in Homer’s Iliad to determine who would be the one to stand up against Hector.

How It All Began

The first record of a European lottery is found at the time of the Roman Empire. The first type was mainly held at parties, in which guests would receive tickets, a sort of raffle would be held, and each guest would receive a prize in exchange. But during the reign of Augustus Caesar, the first lottery in which tickets were offered up for sale was held, thereby starting a long chain of lotteries, the latest of them being the EuroMillions pan-European Lottery. In this first lottery, the money collected was used around the City of Rome, much like funds collected in the EuroMillions lottery being donated to Good Causes and local charities.

Social Contribution

Further public lotteries are recorded as being held across Europe, the first held in the Netherlands in 1434, followed by various others held in Belgium, Holland, and France in an attempt to raise money to help the poor and fortify the towns.

The New World

In England, official lotteries began under Queen Elizabeth I in 1560’s. Like the other lotteries held in continental Europe at the same time, this lottery was also meant to raise funds for various Good Deeds around the kingdom. Additionally, many private lotteries emerged, including those aimed at raising money for the new settlements in America. The English State Lottery was shut down in 1826 due to parliamentary pressure.

Lottery in France

The first attempt at a lottery in France was held in the early 1500’s, not to resurface for another 200 years, when it was introduced in Paris to fund civic functions and private religious orders and knew great success. It is reported that lotteries were 5-7% of French revenue in the years prior the French Revolution. But the philosophers of the Revolution protested against the lotteries, claiming they exploited the poor.

In 1936 the lottery reappeared in France, sanctioned by the government under the government owned Francais des Jeux.

European Tradition

And so, the EuroMillions Lottery came into being following in the footsteps of this grand European tradition. The pan-European lottery was envisioned to be launched simultaneously with the launch of the unified European currency in 1994. The plans were delayed time and time again during a decade until the first draw was finally held on the Friday the 13th 2004.

The French Francais des Jeux, Camelot from the United Kingdom and the Loterias y Apuestas del Estado from Spain joined forces to establish the EuroMillions Lottery, with the first jackpot amounting to 15 million Euros. Few months after the initial lottery draw, other European countries joined the EuroMillions Lottery, thereby expanding the list of participating countries to include Switzerland, Portugal, Luxembourg, Ireland, Belgium and Austria in addition to France, the United Kingdom and France.


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