Official lottery (also known as the Lottery) is a form of gambling in which people wager on numbers drawn in a lottery drawing. They may win a jackpot prize or a cash payout.
During the last century, official lotteries have become popular across the globe. They are a great way to raise money for a variety of causes.
The origins of the official lottery can be traced to the fourteen-hundreds, when lottery games were common in the Low Countries. These games helped to build town fortifications and provided charitable relief to poor citizens.
In England, the first lottery was chartered by Queen Elizabeth I in 1567. The ticket cost ten shillings; its profits were designated for “reparation of the havens and strength of the realm.”
Proponents of state-run lotteries argued that such games would keep the federal government out of the states, filling their coffers without raising taxes. They imagined that the proceeds from a lottery would be so large that their profits would be enough to fund a wide range of public services.
However, evidence from the first legalized lotteries showed that such games were a drain on state finances. In New Jersey, for example, where proponents expected the lottery to bring in hundreds of millions of dollars, it brought in just thirty-three million, or two per cent of the state’s revenue.
Lotteries, like many other forms of gambling, are addictive to those who engage in them. They are also seen as an affront to morality and a distraction from everyday responsibilities.