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A Brief History of Raffle Draws

A raffle draw is one of the most reliable ways to build up a good level of awareness for your charity whilst raising the funds you need for your cause and getting the whole community involved. Whether the prize is big or small, lots of people will buy raffle tickets because it lets them contribute to a charitable cause whilst possibly winning a prize at the same time. The cost of printing raffle tickets and prizes are dwarfed by the amount of money you make from the ticket sales and seem to be a regular part of life.

But raffle draws had to have started from somewhere, and they have a mysterious and interesting history. In various forms, raffle draws have been recorded throughout the course of human civilisation and have been used by both individuals and states to raise funds.

Ancient history

The Ancient Babylonians, Egyptians, Greeks and Romans all used raffle-like games and lotteries to draw winners for community prizes, and it’s even mentioned in the Old Testament that Moses awarded the land to the west of Jordan through using a lottery.

Over time, these simple games of chance evolved to provide huge levels of fundraising, and in 1000BCE, the Hun dynasty in China developed Keno, and the money from its draws funded immense civil and defence projects, including the Great Wall of China. Keno is still popular today and played throughout China!

The Middle Ages & Renaissance

When the Flemish artist Jan Van Eyck died in 1446, his widow decided to raffle off her late husband’s works, selling raffle tickets and thus holding the first recognisable raffle in history. After 1446, raffles became incredibly popular as they could provide the funding for almost any cause.

The late 1460s saw Belgium fund a wide range of civic projects, public facilities and churches, which served the needs of the people. Florence was the site of Italy’s first lottery in the 1500s and Queen Elizabeth I held a raffle where prizes included cash, china and a grand tapestry, with thousands of people buying tickets for a chance to win something.

From this point, lotteries and raffles have been a common sight in historical records throughout Europe, and the Netherlands set up a lottery in 1727 and it still goes on today, making it the longest running lottery in history.

The New World

It wasn’t long before raffles and lotteries were brought to North America, and the first raffle in the USA was held in Virginia in 1612. All the proceeds went back into building the community, much like raffle funds do today.

Today

Charities, community groups, schools, churches and clubs all hold raffle events on a regular basis in order to reliably and easily raise funds for projects that will benefit the whole community.

It’s a real testament to the effectiveness of holding raffles for fundraising, that it has such a long history throughout the world. Here at Remmer Print, we’re here to print your raffle and draw tickets, including all the legally required information quickly and efficiently.

For more information on how we can help you to achieve your fundraising goals, simply get in touch by emailing john@remmerprint.co.uk or calling 01642 671 651 today.