The lottery is an arrangement by which a number or series of numbers are drawn to award prizes, primarily money. Typically, the number or series of numbers are generated by a random computer process. The word is derived from the Middle Dutch loterie, which in turn comes from the Latin Lottera, meaning “to draw lots”.
The first European lotteries in the modern sense of the term appeared in 15th-century Burgundy and Flanders as towns sought to raise funds for munitions, defenses, or poor relief. Francis I of France introduced them to the rest of Europe in the 1500s.
A prize pool is often established before a lottery begins, with the total value of prizes determined by how many tickets are sold. The prize amount may be a single sum, or it might be an annuity that pays out annual payments over several decades. In the former case, the final payout is usually less than the total value of the prizes in the first place because some of the proceeds must be paid as profits to the lottery promoter and the costs of promoting the lottery.
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