Other Free Encyclopedias » Law Library - American Law and Legal Information » Crime and Criminal Law » Gambling - The Historical Lottery, The Contemporary Lottery, Extent Of Gambling, Gambling And Organized Crime, Native American Tribal Gambling

Gambling - The Historical Lottery

lotteries american england opposition

Lotteries were popular—and remain so—because they present a rare opportunity to accumulate capital by luck alone. Despite Puritan opposition, the British Parliament authorized numerous lotteries between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries. "By 1775," asserted the Royal Commission on Lotteries and Betting in 1933, "the lottery had become virtually an annual event." The lottery made its entrance into American history for much the same reasons. Lotteries were said to be the "reall and substantiall food, by which Virginia hath been nourished" (Ezell, p. 8). No American governmental entity—with the exception of post–World War II Nevada or possibly nineteenth-century Louisiana—has ever been dependent upon gambling revenues for so large a proportion of its budget as was the British government. Not until the early nineteenth century, as the lottery became more widespread in England and dependence upon it increased, did its enemies gather enough influence to destroy it. England saw the last of its state lotteries in 1823.

England's Puritan opposition to lotteries reinforced America's opponents of gambling. By the 1840s and 1850s, most of the South began to feel the anti-lottery pressure, and lotteries seem to have been relatively unpopular by the time of the Civil War. National opposition to the lottery strengthened Louisiana's anti-lottery forces, who captured the governor's office and a majority of the legislature. Consequently, Louisiana discontinued its lottery. With the twentieth century approaching, lotteries vanished from the American scene.

Gambling - The Contemporary Lottery [next]

User Comments

Your email address will be altered so spam harvesting bots can't read it easily.
Hide my email completely instead?

Cancel or