If you feel extra lucky on July 17th, it might be because it’s National Lottery Day! Celebrate the way lotteries contribute to local and state programs.
Lotteries date back to the 15th century. While early lotteries funded village needs by feeding and clothing the poor, they also strengthened defenses. According to Random Riches author, Manfred Zollinger, one of the oldest lotteries dates back to 1441 in Bruges, Belgium.
In early lotteries, merchants paid for the chance to win money prizes. Often, the grand prizes included the tax farm on the wijnscrooderschap (wine transporters). These early Renaissance lotteries granted one grand prize winner the opportunity to own the tax farm. Their winnings also included quality control of the wine. There’s no question, merchants gained a lucrative position if they won this lottery.
In the United States, early lotteries paid for cannons during the American Revolution. Lottery money also paved roads up and down the East Coast. Today, states own and operate the lotteries. The funds they gather support government programs and the communities they serve.
NATIONAL LOTTERY DAY HISTORY
Massachusetts State Lottery founded National Lottery Day in 2018 to provide consumers with a day of special promotions for lottery products. Since selling their first ticket 1972, the Massachusetts State Lottery has been an essential source of unrestricted local aid in the Commonwealth.
The Registrar at National Day Calendar proclaimed the day to be observed on July 17th annually.
BY THE NUMBERS
$70.1 billion – the amount Americans spent on lottery tickets in 2014.
1994 – the year the first lottery was launched.
85% – the percentage of winners who choose to remain anonymous.
350 billion to one – the odds of winning the lottery.
38 – the most-drawn Lotto ball.
18 – the number of movies funded by the lottery, including “The King’s Speech.”
99% – the percentage of surveyed winners who still play National Lottery games after winning
70% – the percentage of winners who are convinced that they will win again.
4.5 – the average number of cars winners purchase after becoming millionaires.
52% – the percentage of winners who quit their jobs after winning $1 million or more.
DREAM ON: THE 5 BIGGEST U.S. LOTTERY JACKPOTS EVER
$1.59 billion (2016)
A total of three winning tickets split the largest-ever jackpot — making each one worth more than $500 million. Winners lived in California, Florida, and Tennessee. The California winners assigned most of the proceeds to charity.
$1.54 billion (2018)
A South Carolina woman waited nearly four months to claim the prize. She took a one-time lump-sum payment of nearly $878 million — and remained anonymous.
$768 million (2019)
Winner Manuel Franco purchased his Powerball ticket at a Wisconsin gas station. His reaction? “I was going insane,” Franco said. “My heart started racing. I screamed for about 5 or 10 minutes.” He chose the lump-sum payment of $477 million. Franco is just 24 years old.
$759 million (2017)
Mavis Wanczyk bought the lucky ticket in Chicopee, Massachusetts. She won about $336 million. Wanczyk immediately quit her hospital job (patient care) after working for 32 years.
$688 million (2018)
The drawing produced two winning tickets. A New York City man named Robert Bailey claimed half — vowing afterwards to remain a lottery player. The other half went to Lerynne West of Redfield, Iowa (total population: 830). West had misplaced her ticket, but eventually discovered it on the floor of her sister’s truck.
NATIONAL LOTTERY DAY DATES
Year Date Day 2021 July 17 Saturday 2022 July 17 Sunday 2023 July 17 Monday 2024 July 17 Wednesday 2025 July 17 Thursday