The origins of the Department of Public Lotto date back to 1922 when the government decided to take up the responsibility lotto in Malta. Prior to the enactment of the Public Lotto Ordinance of 1922, the Maltese public used to participate in Italian lotto games, so it was perhaps only natural for the local authorities to seek to regularise and exploit the increaseingly popular practive of gaming in Malta. The Public Lotto Ordinance established lotto as government monopoly and operation of the game was entrusted to newly set up Lotto Branch within the Treasury Department. One hundred lotto offices were opened in various localities in Malta and Gozo, most of which were housed within the premises of band clubs and musical societies. The commisions earned, helped these societies to finance their activities.
The first lotto draw took place on 10th February 1923 and weekly draws have taken place ever since, even during the Second World War. In 1948, the Malta Grand Lottery was launched. Since then, the Department has introduced with varying degrees of success several other games on the local market.
Tiritombla, based on the traditional bingo, was introduced in 1988 and is still being organised today. In 1990, the Department introduced the popular numbers game called Super Five. More recently, in 1996, instant lotteries (scratch card lotteries) were launced in Malta and were well received by the Maltese gaming public.