1560s, "arrangement for an awarding of prizes by chance among those buying tickets," from Italian lotteria, from lotto "lot, portion, share," from a Germanic source. It is cognate with Old English hlot (see lot (n.)), and compare lotto. French loterie is from Middle Dutch loterje, from the same Germanic source. Formerly they were typically used to raise money for some state or charitable purpose.
updated on December 07, 2020