A common fantasy among people is to win a big cash prize and retire early.
The allure of a big jackpot draws in millions around the country and Louisiana is no different. January 2 marked the anniversary of when the Louisiana Lottery Company held its first drawing in 1869.
The company was founded in 1868 by a group of entrepreneurs brought together by Charles T. Howard, who successfully applied for a lottery charter in Louisiana.
According to the Louisiana Lottery, the top prize in the early days of the lottery was about $4,275, which is a far cry from the million-dollar jackpots seen in today’s drawings. In those days, drawings were held daily, monthly and semi-annually. Ticket prices ranged from one quarter of a cent to $0.25.
Near the end of the 19th century the company had to shut its doors largely due to allegations that the lottery had bribed numerous state and national politicians. Nationwide, there were no legal lotteries from 1894 until 1964 when New Hampshire was the first state to bring the state lottery back.
It would take almost three decades for the state lottery to return to the Bayou State. In 1990, the Louisiana Legislature approved Act 1045 amending the state's constitution to create a state lottery.
Voters approved the amendment by a seven to three margin on October 6, 1990. The Louisiana Lottery Corporation was subsequently formed in 1991, and the first tickets were sold in September of that year.