The tentacles of lottery spread far and wide; and touches upon almost every human being on the planet, be it the poor or the super-rich. The poor man dreams about lotteries as much as the rich dreams about open casinos where one doesn’t lose. There however are interesting snippets on this game and we are sure, the stuff below is going is to be a revelation.
Lotteries of Yester Years
The existence of lotteries can be traced to the origins of arithmetic. The Bible has references to it. According to legends, Moses had to take help of lottery to share land along the river Jordan. And lottery finds its ways in various proverbs as well. Lotteries find their places in folklore of China too. Apparently, the Great Wall of China was part funded by lotteries. Back to Europe, the Romans had used lottery to finance projects for public good. But the noblest example of using lottery money is traced back to Belgium in the fifteenth century, wherein lottery was held for the cause of the poor. Incidentally, lotteries in China were also held to raise money for the local armies.
The Early Politicians Played Their Cards
During the early days of America, the seasoned politicians used lottery to raise money. This was their means of avoiding taxes. Right from building the Faneuil Hall at Boston by John Hancock to Ben Franklin buying artillery for the army at the time of the revolutionary war, lotteries have been widely used. George Washington built roads into the Wild West by drawing money from lottery. Most notably, Thomas Jefferson argued in favour of lottery as essential to the existence of mankind when he was struggling to pay off his debts.
The Louisiana Chronicle
As the American Civil War came to an end, so did lotteries in all the American states. Lotteries had assumed notorious reputations; and the states considered it fit to ban. The only exception was the state of Louisiana where the officials were bribed to gain permission to run a private lottery company by the name Louisiana Lottery Company. This was in 1869. For the next quarter of a century, Louisiana Lottery Company sold tickets worth millions of dollars; however it paid out cheap prizes and made paltry contributions to some charities. Lottery was finally banned in the United States of America when the Louisiana Lottery Company shifted its base to the small country of Honduras. The United States of America remained free of all kinds of lottery till the year 1963, when New Hampshire started it all over again.
The Biggest Ever Loser in Lottery
Clarence Jackson was all of 23 years old in 1995 when he had taken over the family business from his sick father. Needless to mention, the business wasn’t doing well. On Friday the 13th of October in the same year, his ticket was chosen as the winner by the Connecticut Lottery for a whopping sum of $5.8 million. Aptly called ‘Inaction Jackson’, Clarence didn’t notice the prize and got to find out the whole matter only fifteen minutes before the expiry of the one year deadline to collect the money from the lottery company. Couple of years later, he was awarded the prize by the Connecticut General Assembly but the state legislature annulled the verdict. The senate is yet to be convinced.
The Biggest Ever Winner in Lottery
Unlike Clarence, Andrew Jackson Whitaker was a wealthy businessman when proved lucky with the Powerball lottery in December 2012. He became the single largest jackpot winner in history, bagging a sum of $314.9 million. Jack however opted for the one time amount of $170.5 million instead of fixed payments over 20 years. The events that unfolded in his life thereafter were far from making him happy with the prize. He was robbed thrice, arrested for drunk driving, his cheques bounced at the Atlantic City casinos and was sued for assault. More so, a friend of his grand-daughter was found dead in his house in 2004 from drug overdose and the next year, the grand-daughter was found lying dead in similar condition. Money surely didn’t bring him peace of mind.