The history of lotteries dates back centuries. In colonial America, lotteries raised money for roads, libraries, schools, canals, bridges, and more. In the 1740s, lottery funds helped fund Princeton and Columbia Universities and the University of Pennsylvania. Lotteries were also used by some colonies during the French and Indian Wars, and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts used a lottery to raise funds for an expedition to Canada. Throughout history, lotteries have played a significant role in the evolution of society.
There are several benefits to retailing lottery tickets. Most state lotteries have incentive-based programs that reward retailers for increasing ticket sales. For example, the lottery in Wisconsin pays its retail partners bonuses for boosting sales. The bonus is 2% of the winning ticket’s value. Other lottery states have similar programs. However, lottery retailers are required to follow the rules of their state. To be eligible for a bonus, retailers must have a physical location in their area.
While U.S. lottery games were legalized in the 1930s, many states have outlawed them in recent years. As of August 2004, forty states had their own state lotteries. By the end of the decade, twelve more states had state lotteries. These states provided a platform for lottery operators to generate much-needed revenue without raising taxes. Furthermore, the lottery’s appeal appealed to Catholic populations, which were generally tolerant of gambling activities.