The Truth About the Official Lottery

Official Lottery offers players the opportunity to purchase a ticket online and be eligible for prizes. The winning numbers are chosen in official drawings held under the supervision of an independent accounting firm. The official winning numbers prevail over any posted numbers. Players must be 18 years or older to play.

Lotteries have a long history in the United States. In early America, they were often used as a way to raise money for public projects or even churches without provoking ire among the anti-tax minded. They were also instrumental in the creation of many of America’s colleges; Harvard, Dartmouth, Yale and Princeton were all financed partly by lotteries. The Continental Congress even attempted to hold a lottery to help fund the Revolutionary War.

In the post-World War II period, with state governments growing and needing to expand their social safety nets but facing increasingly recalcitrant voters on taxes, they began relying more and more on the lottery for revenue. As they did so, they wildly overinflated the impact of lottery revenues on the state budget.

In reality, the average lottery dollar only provides a tiny drop in the bucket for actual state government—as little as 1 to 2 percent of total state revenue over the course of a single year. And a large portion of the revenue goes to advertising and promotional costs, which are explicitly designed to keep people gambling. In other words, the state is exploiting the psychology of addiction—in the same way that tobacco and video game companies do.

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