Official Lottery – Play & Track Powerball, Mega Millions & More
The lottery is a form of gambling in which the organizer offers an amount of money or goods as a prize to whoever buys tickets. The prize can be a fixed sum of money or a percentage of total ticket sales. In the former case, the organizer bears no risk if insufficient tickets are sold. In the latter, the organizer risks losing money if the number of winners exceeds the total amount of funds received.
In the United States, most states have a state lottery. In a surprisingly short period of time, legalized gambling has become one of the nation’s most popular pastimes. The reason, writes Cohen, is that state governments have a serious problem: the cost of operating public services has outpaced their revenues, thanks to an expanding population and soaring inflation. The only way to raise more revenue is to hike taxes or cut public services, both of which are highly unpopular with voters.
For politicians confronting this problem, the lottery offered a magical solution. In a political climate in which neither raising taxes nor cutting services was an option, the lottery appeared to provide a “budgetary miracle,” allowing them to continue offering public services without increasing tax rates or cutting vital programs. For this reason, advocates of the lottery dismissed long-standing ethical objections to gambling by arguing that, since people were going to gamble anyway, governments might as well get their share of the profits.