Every country tends to have a long and colorful history with their own lottery. Lotteries of different kinds and extends have existed since before the ancient Romans, and have taken many different forms, some of which are instantly recognizable today, such as Spain’s El Gordo or the UK’s National Lottery.
Poland has its own interesting lottery history, having arguably had various forms of lottos in different regions since at least the Middle Ages, with the first evidence of there being any kind of “official” lottery first emerging in 18th century. Let’s take a look at how the lottery in Poland has evolved over time.
In the Beginning
The first recorded existence of a lottery on a national scale goes back to the year 1768, when the lower house of the parliament of Poland, also known as the “Sejm”, passed a decree declaring that a national lottery could be established a legitimate source of income for the beleaguered treasury. This original lottery, which bears little resemblance to the Polish Lotto we know today, lasted for many years and came into existence solely to service foreign debt. King Stanislaw of Poland was deep in the red with several distinguished creditors in Italy, consisting mostly of nobles who lent money to finance Stanislaw’s various military adventures and needed a quick, easy way to repay them – one that wouldn’t provoke the ire of the Polish people at a particularly delicate time for domestic politics.
Thus the “Lotto di Genova” was created, thus named because the creditors hailed from the Italian city of Genoa. This lottery consisted of a single line of 5 numbers out of a total possible pool of 90 numbers, meaning chances of winning were pretty slim. This lottery was operated entirely by the Italian creditors, who were able to keep the profits and thus retrieve their debt.
The 20th Century Lottery
Following World War II, the lottery was started up again, first by the Polish Welfare Council to raise funds to help the families of war victims. Then, the government launched a more traditional lottery system in 1955, with the first ever store being located in Warsaw, on Marszałkowska street, near Wspólna. The income of this first national lottery was originally designated for the repair and upkeep of national sporting facilities. In 1956, the same government body introduced sports betting for the first time. From that point onwards, the lottery in Poland continued to grow and diversify until it resembled the one we recognize today.
Polish Lottery Today
The Polish Lottery today is as diverse and varied as the lotteries of every other major European economy. You can play variants of many different games, including options like scratch cards and Mini Lotto. Over 15 million Poles now play the lottery on a regular basis, and the number continues to grow over time. Polish lottery income continues a long tradition of funding civic projects and local initiatives – and hopefully this too will continue to grow and flourish.
So there you have it; the lottery in Poland goes back quite a long way and – as is the case in numerous other countries – it helps fund various good causes. The Polish love trying their luck at this game.