Official Lottery Tickets Are Not Transferable Between People Or Performances

Official Lottery tickets are not transferable between people or performances. Please select the performance you wish to attend when entering the lottery.

The lottery grew in popularity as states, particularly in the northeastern United States and in the Rust Belt, sought out ways to raise money. Early on, the fervor for state lotteries was driven by exigency: In addition to building or rebuilding schools and churches, lottery proceeds helped finance civil defense, public works projects, and even help pay for the Revolutionary War. Yet, according to Cohen, a large number of Americans, largely Protestants, considered government-sanctioned lotteries immoral and irresponsible.

Lottery critics argued that state gambling would undermine morality, as well as that the amount of money states stood to gain was a drop in the bucket compared to other sources of revenue. This sentiment persisted in the late twentieth century, when Americans staged a “tax revolt,” cutting property taxes by almost sixty percent and lowering income tax rates.

Today, lottery marketers try to counter this criticism by promoting two messages primarily. One is that, regardless of whether you win or lose, it’s important to play because it helps the state. That’s a message coded to make people feel like they’re doing their civic duty, which obscures how regressive the games are. In reality, the money that lottery players contribute to their states is a tiny fraction of overall state revenues. Moreover, it’s hard to argue that the odds of winning are fair when the initial jackpots are so enormous.