The roots of lotteries go down deep and spread far. "Casting lots" is even mentioned in the Bible. The first lottery to offer cash prizes probably originated in Florence, Italy, in the 16th century. It was dubbed Lotto de Firenze, and it quickly spread to other Italian cities. The game, as well as the name, caught on. Italy's national lottery is still called Lotto, as are those in the U.S. and many other countries.
During Colonial times, lotteries were all the rage in America. Most were held for charitable or civic purposes, such as building churches, bridges, and schools. But lotteries fell into disfavor by the mid-19th century. Things changed in the second half of the 20th century. New Hampshire was the forerunner, holding its first lottery in 1964. Other states gradually followed suit. In the '80s and particularly the '90s, the ancient game became hotter than a two-dollar pistol.
You'll see people of all ages and from all walks of life picking numbers and scratching off instant tickets. Nationwide, total annual lottery sales have grown into the billions of dollars. In many states, all it costs to take a chance on changing your life forever is $1. Where else can you buy a dream for a dollar?
follow suit 效仿，照着做
fall into disfavor 失宠，受冷落
hotter than a two-dollar pistol 极大成功，广为盛行，极为畅销
instant tickets 即时兑奖彩票
职场英语网 编辑 Charlson 摘引交流请注明来源