Do you know your raffles?

Here’s some things you may not know!

Raffles go way back, even to the times of the Bais Hamikdash! The second perek of Maseches Yoma discusses that there were 4 lotteries done in the Bais Hamikdash to determine which Kohen was zocheh to which avodah. Of course, these raffles were different than the ones we have today and had a lot more hashgacha pratis involved. [1]


The word “raffle” originates from the old 1350-1400 Middle English “rafle” dice game, which is a derivative of “rafler” – to snatch. [2]


The first record of any raffle is the keno slips from the Chinese Han Dynasty between 205 and 187 BCE. Historians speculate that
these lotteries helped finance major government projects like the Great Wall of China! [3]


The earliest records of European lotteries were held during the Roman Empire as entertainment during dinner parties. Each guest
would receive a ticket, after which prizes, such as dinnerware, were raffled off. Each ticket owner was assured of winning something.
The first known European raffle for profit was the lottery organized by Roman Emperor Augustus Caesar. All proceeds were used to
repair the City of Rome. [4]


Moving to modern times, raffles have become a widespread phenomenon, taking many shapes and forms. Take Tombola for example –
a traditional game, similar to Bingo, which originated in Southern Italy in the 18th Century. In the 19th and 20th Centuries, the game
made its way abroad and is now popular in the UK in the form of a raffle. [5]


The world of raffles continues to change by leaps and bounds. Want to participate in a real game changer? Click here to register!

Mishna Yoma, Perek Beis  [1]  [2]  [3]  [4]  [5]