Official Lottery Rules

The lottery is a state-run gambling game that raises money for public services, such as education. Each state has its own laws governing the operation and accounting of lottery games, distribution of revenue and time limits for claiming prizes. In the United States, there are two major multi-state lotteries, Mega Millions and Powerball, which share ticket sales and jackpots but not prize payouts. New York began running its own lottery in 1967, after voters approved a referendum. Its first slogan was “Your Chance of a Lifetime to Help Education.”

The lottery sparked fierce debate in many communities, especially among devout Protestants and other religious groups who viewed it as morally unconscionable. Lottery opponents pointed to evidence of corruption and other ills of state-sponsored gambling as reason enough to ban it. But as the economy grew and public services needed to be expanded, the idea of state governments getting in on the action became more appealing.

Lottery officials argue that the game provides a fair and equitable way to fund public programs, while still keeping taxes low for all. But critics point to the regressive nature of lottery winnings, which pushes lower-income Americans into debt and takes money from their local economies. This trend is exacerbated by the fact that instant scratch-off games are far more popular with lower income people than jackpot drawing games.

Please play responsibly and be sure to read all the Official Rules before purchasing a ticket. If you have questions, contact Customer Service.