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Public Benefits of the Lottery


Lottery is a gambling game that offers a chance to win big money. People pay a small amount of money for the right to try their luck at winning the jackpot. But the state government is almost always the biggest winner from lottery profits. In fact, 44 cents of every dollar spent on a ticket goes to the state. Some of the rest gets paid out to retailers that sell tickets and to winners of smaller prizes.

In America, state and national lotteries generate more than $100 billion in ticket sales each year. No other industry can boast such a revenue stream. But how do lottery officials turn such a massive sum into cash for public good?

A typical lottery advertisement focuses on the excitement of winning and the chance to make dreams come true. It’s a message that is hard to ignore, especially in an era when the lottery has become one of the most popular forms of gambling in the United States.

Lotteries have a long history in America. In colonial days, they played a major role in raising funds for both private and public ventures. They helped finance roads, libraries, churches, canals, and bridges. They also funded colleges, including Harvard, Dartmouth, and Yale. And during the American Revolution, they were used to raise money for local militias.