Britain did not have a national lottery until 1994 when the government finally approved the project despite strong opposition. The National Lottery is run by a private company, Camelot, which was given the franchise (= licence) to run it by the National Lottery Commission.
  The lottery was an immediate success with the public and its ‘crossed fingers’ logo, a gesture supposed to bring luck, is familiar throughout Britain. Lottery tickets are sold at many shops and supermarkets. For £1.00 people choose a row of six numbers between 1 and 49, or take a lucky dip of random numbers. The draw ceremony is broadcast every Saturday and Wednesday night. One of three machines containing 49 numbered balls is switched on and, after the balls have been turned, seven are tipped out. The first six are the winning numbers, the seventh is the bonus ball. Anyone who has chosen the six winning numbers wins or shares the jackpot (= the main prize), worth several million pounds. People with three, four or five matching numbers, or five plus the bonus ball, can also win prizes. If nobody wins the jackpot there is a roll-over to the next draw. About 65% of adults play every week. Some also buy Instants, which show, when the surface is scratched off, if the buyer has won a prize.
  Most of the money raised by the lottery is shared out by the distributors among a variety of good causes such as the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Arts Council and UK Sport. These range from major arts institutions, such as the Royal Opera House, to local sports, arts, conservation and charity organizations. The lottery is not popular with everyone, and many charities complain that they receive less money from the public since the lottery began.
  The US does not have a national lottery but there are lotteries in most states. US lotteries date back to 1776 when the Continental Congress gave its approval for lottery tickets to be sold to raise money for the American Revolution. America’s strong religious groups have always been against long-running lotteries, and lottery games did not become official until the 1970s.

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Universalium. 2010.

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