What is a Lottery?



a scheme for the distribution of prizes by chance, especially a game in which tickets bearing particular numbers are drawn at random and the remaining ones are blanks
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The first known lottery-style competitions, in which ticket holders won money instead of goods or services, took place in the Low Countries during the 15th century. These were public lotteries designed to raise funds for town fortifications and help the poor. During the American Revolution, Benjamin Franklin held a private lottery to pay for cannons for Philadelphia’s defenses, and George Washington sponsored a lottery in 1768 to fund his expedition against Canada.

Today, state-sanctioned lotteries rely on a base of regular players to drive the majority of their revenue. In fact, a recent study found that just 10 percent of lottery players make up 70 to 80 percent of the total ticket sales.

As a result, lottery officials promote two messages to the general population: Firstly, that the chances of winning are astronomical and secondly that it’s fun to play the lottery. This approach obscures the regressivity of the lottery and encourages people to treat it as a form of entertainment rather than as a serious financial bet, Chartier says.

But there is a problem with this message. Despite the high stakes, most people who play the lottery don’t win anything close to what they paid in. This is because the money they spend on tickets is divided up among commissions for lottery retailers and lottery system overhead.

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