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What You Need to Know About a Lottery


The first recorded lotteries offered tickets for sale with monetary prizes attached. These lotteries were held in various Low Countries towns to raise money for poor people or for fortifications. While the oldest known lottery is from Ghent, records at L’Ecluse in 1445 mention a public lottery raising money for fortifications and walls. The prize money at that time was worth 1737 florins, which is about US$170,000 today.


Lotteries have a long and interesting history. In the 15th century, they were first invented in the Netherlands and Belgium. These countries were engaged in war against Venice and wanted to raise money for their troops. In Italy, the city of Genoa also conducted a lottery. A random draw was made for five members of its city council, and people would bet on the outcome. Later, people began to place bets on certain numbers, which eventually became the numbers of lotto tickets.


A legal lottery must contain three elements: a prize, a chance to win and a consideration for participating. Without any of these elements, a lottery is illegal.


If you win a lottery prize, you have to claim it in person. The claim form is located on the back of your ticket and must be signed. If you are a minor, your parent or guardian must sign it for you. For prizes of $100 or more, you also need to complete a Winner Claim Form and a Federal Form W-9 or W-8BEN.

Taxes on winnings

If you win the lottery and receive the prize money, you must pay taxes on it. If you live in New York, you would have to pay taxes up to 13% of the amount you win. In other states, you may only pay taxes on a portion of your prize money.

Social harms

Lotteries are one of the most popular forms of entertainment around the world. In fact, people spend more money on lottery tickets than on any other form of entertainment. Yet many economists and sociologists contend that lotteries have social harms. Fortunately, there is an alternative viewpoint.