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Lottery History – How Did We Get To Being Able To Bet On 49's Lotto Direct From Your Mobile?

OLIVER L. Author

Last Updated: 24th Sept 2018

After working in the gambling industry for over a decade, Oliver spotted an opportunity to setup a resource for lottery bettors. CompareTheLotto.com was founded in 2014, with Number49s.co.za following shortly after. The aim is to find the best odds, offers and information for lottery bettors in South Africa.

Note: *The following article is purely for fun. It is based on individual opinions and does not constitute advice. The drawing of lottery numbers is entirely random. Please always gamble responsibly. #Ad. Find out more on our How Our Site Works page.


Lottery is ingrained into many people's weekly – if not daily – lives these days. And although many people in the South Africa attribute the launch of the SA National Lottery in 1994 as their first regular lottery experience, the origins of lottery go back waaaay further than that. So how did we get here... betting on the 49's at Betway, Hollywood and others using our mobile?

The Origins of Lottery

The word 'lottery' is believed to have stemmed from the Dutch word 'loterij' meaning to be drawn from a 'lot' in the mid-16thcentury. However, lotteries have been taking place for over 2000 years, with the first recorded of lottery being Chinese keno slips from the Han Dynasty, between 205 and 187 BC.

Early lotteries, such as those used in the Han Dynasty, were used as a way of generating income in order to fund wars. But lotteries began to become a more social activity during the Roman Empire, as they were used as a fun dinner game in which participants would win a prize after a selection of wooden lots were drawn – quite similar to modern day charity raffles.

Lotteries continued to feature in the subsequent years and centuries in many forms, but it was in the medieval period where they really came to public attention. As the Han Dynasty had done before them, many towns started running public lotteries in order to collect money for fortification and charity – with increasingly large prizes on offer to entrants.

Indeed, the lottery craze wasn't exclusive to Britain – it swept across mainland Europe too, with draws shown to take place in Bruges, Milan and Genoa.

And it was in Genoa where the term "Lotto" first became prevalent, with the initial draws involving drawing the names of five council members out of 90– effectively making it 5 from 90 "Lotto" draw – a precursor to the 49's lotto draw many people live today.

Names were then replaced by numbers with draws taking place with increasing frequency, after recognising the appetite for the chance to win more than once or twice per year.

In England, the first "official" lottery draw was chartered by Queen Elizabeth I, with the plan conceived in 1566. During the next three years, the government sold ticket rights to brokers who subsequently sold the tickets to players – thus making them widely available for the draw which took place in 1569 – with every entrant guaranteed a prize!

The lottery bug continued to spread across the world, and reached American shores in 1612 after being introduced by King James I.

Modern Day Lottery – Betting on the 49's Lotto

By the 20th century, various lottery products could be found around the world – with entrants loving the chance to win huge prizes.

Like many other industries, lottery began to move online thanks to the internet around the turn of the millennium, with people able to buy lottery tickets online or even bet on the outcome of draws with thanks to online bookmakers such as Betway, Hollywood and Supabets – also enabling players to bet on the 49's, as well as other major lotteries like PowerBall, MegaMillions and EuroMillions, including the chance to bet on alternative lottery outcomes, such as single lottery number betting.

If you want to have fun in a similar way to people from all over the world for hundreds of years, why not try out Betways's fantastic offer for 49's Lotto

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