Gambling, especially the lottery, has been around since the beginning of time. Let's take the word "lottery" itself, which is derived from the word "lotto" and is the Italian word for destiny or fate.
History of lotteries goes back to early Chinese culture, where it is said that even the Great Wall of China was financed by a lottery. Lottery forms themselves date back to Julius Caesar. Lotteries in Europe flourished quite well between the 15th and 17th centuries, so they say.
In 1727, the Netherlands started a lottery that is still quite active. According to history lore, the main purpose of creating a lottery in those days was to simply replenish the country's depleted funds so that it could finance its wars and the construction of roads, bridges and buildings. Hmm, maybe our country should look into a lottery for our present infrastructure problems, as our government has no clue how to accomplish this.
John Hancock even operated a lottery to rebuild historic Faneuil Hall in Boston. Washington and Jefferson were involved in lotteries.
Finally, lotteries reached our shores, which funded Virginia and established the first English settlement there. Harvard University even had its own lottery. Corruption came as it usually does, and for a while, lotteries were prohibited. In 1878, the state of New York passed the first constitutional prohibition of lotteries in the U.S.A., and later, all states except Louisiana prohibited lotteries.
It took quite a bit of time, almost a century, but state lotteries were again created in the middle 1970s starting with New Hampshire, New York and New Jersey. Before you knew it, the instant game that we all love and adore came along. By the 1980s, it was quite successful with sales of the instant tickets passing $1 billion in sales.
Our own Ohio Lottery Commission was created in May 1973 by a voter-approved constitutional amendment. The first ticket went on sale in August 1974. Today, the Ohio Lottery Commission offers a variety of games with approximately 8,900 licensed locations across our state. Our Ohio lottery was established to support education programs and has contributed about $13 billion to education. The Ohio Lottery was to be solely used to support elementary, secondary, vocational and special educational programs.
As mentioned earlier there are many varieties of lottery games to be played in Ohio. Many people have won big time and are enjoying their lives as millionaires, while others hold their winnings as a curse and wish they had never won. Most of us all dream of winning millions in the big one - as in the present Mega Millions and Classic Lotto. Our hearts race as we search for the winning numbers each day.
To win the Mega, odds are 1 in 175,711,536. To win the second prize of $250,000, odds are 1 in 3,904,701, and for the third prize of $10,000, odds are 1 in 689,065. The prizes go down to having just the Mega Ball for a winning of just $2 with odds of 1 in 75.
In the Classic Lotto, to win the grand prize jackpot the odds are 1 in 13,983,816. To win the second prize of $1,500, the odds are 1 in 54,201.
There are so many different ways to win, and it does create a fever to play. But it is gambling, and we must be aware that we just don't win every time and to limit how much we play. There is Rolling Cash 5, Pick 3 or Pick 4, the number and various scratch-off instant games on whatever stakes you want to play.
You can be a winner and probably already have been. Someone has to win the big one and it could be you. Good luck.