|1814 English State Lottery Ticket|
Copyright Ron Shelley, Creative Commons
The Halloween carnival was coming up and I was determined that my class would win the crown for raising the most amount of money in elementary school.
And since we were selling chances (a raffle) on some obscure item like a cake or a $20 bill, I talked a couple of other girls into braving the high school wing and asking the teachers to buy chances. They were the obvious targets since they would surely want to support the school, yes?
One teacher (I can plainly see her even to this day), seated behind her desk, beehive hairdo stacked tall on her head, cat-eyed glasses perched on her nose, informed us that she didn't hold with taking chances, but she would donate to our efforts to raise money for our class. Even though the chances were probably no more than a quarter each, or 5 for a dollar, she felt that paying for a chance on something was akin to gambling.
That was the first time I realized the subtlety between purchasing a chance on raffle vs. donating to a cause. In the intervening years as I participated in various fund-raisers as a student, and then as a parent, I was careful to respect that not everybody is comfortable buying chances on something, even if it's just a cake.
So, since I'm giving away a Kindle Fire (btw, no purchase necessary!) this month, I got to wondering: when did people start selling chances for land, money, items, etc? It just seems like it would be a newfangled idea cooked up in the 21st century. A little research was in order...
There are subtle differences between raffles and lotteries. Raffle tickets are generally much cheaper than lottery tickets, the expected income is less, and the prizes are smaller as well. For a raffle, people purchase numbered tickets for a specific prize or group of prizes. Matching tickets are drawn out of the box/bag/hat/bowl at the appointed time and the person(s) holding the matching tickets win. Tombola and Bingo are considered raffles. Lotteries are usually much larger events, and operate on a much larger scale, with larger prizes that may grow as the "pot" grows.
|1776 Continental Congress Lottery Ticket|
Copyright Ron Shelley, Creative Commons
The first recorded signs of a lottery is believed to be from the Chinese Han Dynasty between 205 and 187 BC. The proceeds very likely helped finance major projects like the Great Wall of China. A reference to the “drawing of wood” in the Chinese Book of Songs also is believed to refer to the drawing of lots, similar to "casting lots". Homer’s Iliad mentions lots and there are several mentions in the Holy Bible of drawing lots, the most recognizable is that the soldiers cast lots for Jesus’ vesture instead of tearing it.
Noblemen during the Roman Empire gave tickets to their guests and each guest received extravagant gifts such as dinnerware or silverware. Of course the guests didn’t have to pay for the privilege of “winning” a prize. During Augustus Caesar’s reign, lottery tickets were offered for sale to repair Rome, and the winners were given gifts, but not money.
Possibly the first lotteries to sale tickets where the prize was money was held in the 15th century in the Low Countries (Belgium, the Netherlands, etc.) It was very common in the 1400s onward to hold public lotteries to raise money to help the poor and make improvements to the infrastructure of towns.
Queen Elizabeth organized an interesting lottery in 1566 to raise money for the kingdom. Interestingly, the ticket holders won prizes such as silver platters and other valuables equal to the money raised. The benefit was that the kingdom was able to use the money for three years, the duration of the lottery. This set-up was most likely the forerunner to the modern day stock market.
The Virginia Company of London raised money to support Jamestown; hundreds of lotteries financed roads, libraries, and churches in colonial America, and lotteries even played a part is some of the land runs during the westward expansion. So, not only are there instances of people paying for the chance to win some kind of prize, but in some cases the opportunity was free. Some of the Oklahoma land runs were run by lottery tickets to attempt to curb corruption.
Having concluded my research, I've discovered that lotteries and raffles come in all shapes and sizes, and they've been around a long, long time. Some are completely free, while others cost money to enter. There really is nothing new under the sun.
Except maybe Rafflecopter, yes? :)
EXTRA! EXTRA! READ ALL ABOUT IT!
CFHS friends who enter the Kindle Giveaway below will be given a chance to win a signed copy of Claiming Mariah. Just let me know in the comments on today's post that you've entered the Kindle giveaway and that you'd like to be in the drawing for a copy of the book as well. Happy Trails!
|Click to Enter the Contest. No Purchase Necessary! :)|
Pam Hillman was born and raised on a dairy farm in
and spent her teenage years perched on the seat of a tractor raking hay. In
those days, her daddy couldn’t afford two cab tractors with air conditioning
and a radio, so Pam drove the Allis Chalmers 110. Even when her daddy asked her
if she wanted to bale hay, she told him she didn’t mind raking. Raking hay
doesn’t take much thought so Pam spent her time working on her tan and making
up stories in her head. Claiming
Mariah is her second novel. Look for The Evergreen Bride, October, 2014. www.pamhillman.com Mississippi
Good morning CFHS friends! The weather's gorgeous here in Mississippi even if we did wake up to 33 degree weather. The temperature is rising though, and I bet it's going to be a beautiful day. :) Hope your day is wonderful as well.ReplyDelete
Don't forget! We have a giveaway today, so enter the Kindle giveaway and let me know here in the comments for a chance to win a copy of Claiming Mariah.
Good morning, Pam! It's SLOWLY starting to warm up here. It's supposed to get into the 50's today. Hoping they're right. The trees are starting to bud, but I haven't seen any flowers yet. We did get a few flurries on Monday, but it didn't stick, thankfully. ;) I went over and entered the Kindle giveaway AND I signed up for your newsletter. Thanks for the giveaways. Have a great day!ReplyDelete
Angi, it seems like it's been colder later all over this year. We'll be wishing for 40-50 temps come July! :) Thanks for signing up and your name's in the hat for a copy of Claiming Mariah! Whoot!Delete
Our state lottery touts that they help finance the schools, I didn't realize that lotteries have been financing different projects for years. Interesting post. I entered the Kindle giveaway and signed up for your newsletter also. Thanks for the giveaway!ReplyDelete
I was the same way, Lis. I was surprised to find out that lotteries were held so far back in history. Thank you for signing up for the newsletter! :)Delete
This actually makes me smile because.............a group at my kids' high school was always ALWAYS doing cake raffles. Maybe like at ... every single game all year? And I'd have to donate a cake because it was something one of my girls was in. So...........I'd make the stupid cake and then I'd leave it at the raffle table and I'd buy chances ... but I didn't want a cake, for heaven's sake. So I'd give them whatever money I had on me, and the chances were CHEAP like 25 cents or five for a dollar maybe. Well, I didn't mind donating $5 but I wasn't about to stand there and fill out my name 25 times for a cake I didn't want. So I'd get handed the stack of raffle tickets and I'd shove them all back except one and say, "I'm putting my name in once, regardless of the money and btw, if I win, throw the name back in and draw again."ReplyDelete
It seemed like I won a cake almost every week! Like it was KARMA or something. So I'd get my cake and look around at the kids milling here and there and say, "You want a cake?"
And bam! problem solved.
I don't claim any high ideals about being anti-gambling, though I'm not a gambler honestly. But I am pretty much anti-delicious dessert that I will scarf down single-handedly-if-I-bring-it-into-my-house.
Sounds oh-so-familiar, Mary. We used to have cake walks at the carnivals. Very similar to a raffle, I suppose, but there would be 20 or so squares taped off on the floor with numbers in each square. You paid your quarter and picked a spot.Delete
Somebody would stand in the hallway and yell that they were about to have a calk walk to draw as many people in to pay their quarter. Then they play music and everybody would walk around on the squares. As soon as the music stopped, you stopped on a square and they'd draw a number out, and you won a cake.
Well, one of the FEW times in my life that I actually won something, I won a cake in a cake walk when I was about ten years old. I was SO excited and got to pick whatever cake I wanted. I picked RED VELVET.
Oh.My.Stars!!! Red Velvet...so GOOD!
Well, being a kid, I didn't want to get separated from my friends, and Mama was working a different part of the carnival (selling stew or something) so I put my precious Red Velvet cake at the end of the roll-up doors safely away from the other cakes and raced off to enjoy the rest of the carnival with my friends.
When the carnival was over, I raced back to the room where the cake walk was and my cake was GONE!!! I don't know if they re-gifted it or if they discovered it and thought it was left over or what, but unlike you, Mary, I am not over it, and I'm all teary-eyed because I lost my Red Velvet cake.
PS. I cannot pass up a slice (or two) of Red Velvet cake to this day!
Fascinating post, Pam. Lottery ticket purchases are a huge fact of life here in southwest Colorado. I stopped at a convenience store not long ago for hotdog buns and a bottle of tea. I had the exact amount including the tax, not a penny more. The cashier rang up my purchase and the amount was two dollars more than I had. Stunned, I asked about the prices and tax ,and yep I was right. I asked why the extra $2.00 charge. She smiled and said it's for the lottery ticket and held out a shiny, colorful card. I said I didn't ask for a ticket. She got mad and said everyone wants a ticket and I had to pay for it because it was automatically logged out of her inventory. I said no I didn't want to purchase a lottery ticket. I was about to explain the money crunch when the man behind me said he'd take it. I paid for my purchases and left. Hope the man at least won back the $2 cost.ReplyDelete
Wow! I had no idea, Linda. I have a suspicious mind, so immediately I wonder how many $2.00 tickets that cashier rang up but nobody questioned, and she got the ticket. Maybe cashiers can't purchase / win from stores they work at though, so maybe my suspicions are unfounded, but still....I would have been MAJORLY irked if that happened to me.Delete
As my kids would tell you, I love this kind of historical information. Thanks for sharing! I registered for the giveaway and am looking forward to receiving email updates!ReplyDelete
2b ....may I call you "TwoBeeDoo"? Sorry, that just slipped out! :) So glad you stopped by and also for signing up for the giveaway!Delete
Thanks for the interesting post, Pam!!ReplyDelete
I signed up for the Kindle giveaway, and would like to be in the drawing for a copy of "Claiming Mariah" - would love to read it !! Thank you!!
So glad to see you here Bonton! Thanks for signing up to win the Kindle. Your names in the hat for a copy of Mariah as well. Whoot! :)Delete
The history of raffles is something I hadn't ever considered! Interesting. Thanks for the chance to win a copy of Claiming Mariah. I entered the Kindle giveaway.ReplyDelete
Thanks for stopping by, Brittany. The oddest things catch our attention, don't they? Not that we're weird or anything like that...we're just curious! :)Delete
Wow!!! What a fascinating post. I thoroughly enjoyed it!!!ReplyDelete
Oh, I entered the Kindle giveaway and would love to be entered in the giveaway for a chance to win a copy of Claiming Mariah. Thank you!!!
Glad you stopped by to visit, Thea. History is full of fascinating facts, isn't it? Thanks for entering the giveaway! :)Delete
I entered - would love to win the book!! truckredford(at)gmail.comReplyDelete
Wonderful, Eliza! So glad you stopped by. I'll enter your name in the drawing. :)Delete
And the winner of a copy of Claiming Mariah is Thea Colebank! Thea, I'll contact you privately for instructions on mailing the book. Congrats!ReplyDelete