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Lotteries

tickets, prizes, lottery, ticket, public and sale

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LOTTERIES have been encouraged by some states for the purpose of raising a revenue. The general plan has been for the government to sell a certain num ber of tickets or chances, and to distribute by lot a part of the money thus collected among a comparatively small number of the purchasers. Lotteries are games of chance, the aggregate number of players in which are sure to lose a part of their venture. During the period in which the English state lotteries were carried on by act of pardament, it was the plan to dis tribute in prizes of different mignitudes an amount equal to 10/. for each ticket or chance that was issued, and the profit to the state consisted of the sum beyond that rate which contractors were willing to give for the privilege of selling to the public the tickets or shares of tickets, which for that purpose they might divide into halves, quarters, eighths, and six teenths of tickets. The price paid by the contractors for this privilege varied with circumstances, but was usually about six ar seven pounds per ticket beyond the amount repaid in prizes, while the price charged by the contractors to the public was generally four or five pounds per ticket beyond that paid to the govern ment: and more than this rate of advance was always ree,eired when the tickets were divided into shares, the smaller shares being charged more in proportion than the larger.

The earliest English lottery of which there is any record was in 1569, when 40,000 chances were sold at ten shillings each : the prizes consisted of articles of plate, and the profit was employed for the repair of certain harbours. In the course of the following century the spirit of -gambling appears to have materially in creased in this direction, for private lot teries were, early in the reign of Queen Anne, suppressed "as public nuisances." In the early period of the history of the National Debt of England, it was usual to pay the prizes in the state lotteries in the form of terminable annuities. In

1694 a loan of a million was raised by the sale of lottery tickets at 101. per ticket, the prizes in which were funded at the rate of 14 per cent. for sixteen years cer tain. In 1746 a loan of three millions •was raised on 4 per cent. annuities, and a lottery of 50,000 tickets at 101. each ; and in the following year one million was raised by the sale of 100,000 tickets, the prizes in which were funded in perpetual annuities at the rate of 4 per cent, per annum. Probably the last occasion on -which the taste for gambling was thus encouraged was in 1780, when every sub scriber of 10001. towards a loan of twelve -millions at 4 per cent. received a bonus of four lottery tickets, the value of each -of which was 101.

In 1778 an act was passed obliging every person who kept a lottery-office to take out a yearly licence, and to pay 501. for the same, a measure which reduced the number of lottery-offices from 400 to 51.

By limiting the subdivision of chances to the sixteenth of a ticket as the minimum, it was intended to prevent the labouring population from risking their earnings, but this limitation was extensively and easily evaded by means which aggravated the evil, the keepers of these illegal of fices (commonly known as " little goes") and insurance offices requiring extra profits to cover the chances of detection and punishment. All the et.orts of the police were ineffectual for the suppression of these illegal proceedings, and tor many -years a growing repugnance was in con sequence manifested in parliament to this method of raising any part of the public revenue. At length, in 1823, the last act that was sanctioned by parliament for the sale of lottery tickets contained provisions for putting down all private lotteries. and for rendering illegal the sale, in this kingdom, of all tickets or shares of tickets in any foreign lottery, which latter pro vision is, to this day, extensively evaded.

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