How to Play the Official Lottery

Lotteries are government-sanctioned games where winnings are determined by drawing numbers. Prizes can range from cash to goods. They are used as a method of raising funds for public usage without increasing taxes or other forms of burdensome taxation. They can be a popular alternative to more traditional ways of raising money.

Lottery tickets are sold by authorized lottery retailers and online through the POWERBALL app or the website. Players can check their official winning numbers and other information by visiting the WINNING NUMBERS page or call the Lottery at (850) 921-PLAY. Winnings are paid out either as an annuity or a lump sum. Lump sum winnings are generally less than the advertised jackpot, owing to the time value of money and income taxes withholdings.

The first recorded lotteries were organized by the Roman Empire to raise money for public construction projects and other needs. Eventually, the practice spread throughout Europe and was adopted by many countries, including Canada. The oldest running national lottery in the world is the Staatsloterij of the Netherlands, which has been operating since 1726.

In colonial America, private citizens and public officials staged lotteries to fund a variety of private and public ventures, such as roads, libraries, colleges, canals, and bridges. In addition to monetary prizes, some lotteries offered land and slaves. In 1769, Benjamin Franklin organized a lottery to fund cannons for the defense of Philadelphia. George Washington was a manager of the Mountain Road Lottery that raised money for his expedition against Canada. These rare lottery tickets bearing Washington’s signature have become collectors’ items.