The History of the Official Lottery

Official lottery is a game of chance wherein numbers are drawn in order to win a prize. These games are commonly held by governments to raise money for a variety of purposes. While many critics of official lotteries argue that gambling is a bad thing to promote, there are also those who support the idea of state-sponsored lottery games. Some believe that state-sponsored lotteries are a good way to fund things such as education.

Initially, advocates of the lottery argued that since people were going to gamble anyway, the government might as well profit from them. This logic dismissed long-standing ethical objections to gambling and gave moral cover to many white voters who approved of the first legalized lotteries. Today, however, evidence shows that the proceeds from lotteries are a small fraction of total state revenue. The majority of this revenue comes from low-income citizens, making it a regressive tax.

Another factor that helped to fuel lottery popularity was the size of jackpots. These massive prizes earned the lotteries free publicity on news sites and newscasts. In addition, they made the games seem more attractive to potential players. Increasing the size of the jackpot is now a common marketing strategy. As soon as one state approves a lottery, its bordering states tend to follow suit. This has led to the development of multi-state lotteries.