The lottery was invented in Genoa!

After the blue jeans that I wrote about here, it is another, world-famous “invention”, that comes from Genoa ๐Ÿ™‚


It all began in the 17th century when a group of Genoese residents invented precise rules of gambling, which consisted of betting on the candidates elected to the Great Council of the Republic of Genoa. Every six months, five new members were elected to replace the “old” members. The game was based on the fact that the names of these candidates had been written on numbered cards and then thrown into an urn called “seminario”. When the election day arrived the cards were being drawn during the official draw. The game “seminario” was about betting which of these numbers (members) would be drawn. Of course, the game was played for money, and because of that, it was officially banned by the authorities of the Republic of Genoaโ€ฆ. until 1643, when the Republic began to have serious financial problems. Knowing that despite the bans, residents continued to place bets, the government decided to legalize the game and introduced a betting tax. The number of revenues from that tax exceeded all expectations, so the rulers decided to increase the total number of draws, separating them from the Great Council election.

New rules

A novelty was the introduction of a table with 90 numbers and a system of weekly draws. This time the numbers were assigned to young, poor girls living in Genoa. The girl whose number was drawn was given a sum of money that she could use as her dowry.

The international success of the “lotto game from Genoa”

The popularity of the game in Genoa quickly made it famous beyond the borders of the Republic of Genoa. It quickly became popular in Venice, where part of the game’s revenue was donated to city lighting. While in Naples, like in Genoa, poor girls were helped. Over time, the game was also introduced in the Papal State, Prussia, the Netherlands and Austria, where it was called the “lotto from Genoa”.

Kingdom of Italy

In 1863. management of the “lotto from Genoa” game passed into the hands of the newly formed government of the Kingdom of Italy and since then it had been constituting a significant part of the state budget โ€ฆ which is valid also nowadays ๐Ÿ™‚

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2 Replies to “The lottery was invented in Genoa!”

  1. Thank you for your interesting article on the origin of the modern lottery in Genoa.
    I am developing a website/blog dedicated to the workings of the UK National Lottery.
    The blog is in its infancy but I want it to become a trusted and authoritative source of information. This will take time as I conduct research.
    Best wishes,

    1. That's Liguria! says: Reply

      Thank you for your comment and good luck with your blog! Best wishes, Agata ๐Ÿ™‚

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