New York’s Official Lottery

The official lottery is a state-run game in which numbers are drawn for prizes. These games raise funds for state projects. They are regulated by state law, which covers everything from the operation and accounting of the games to the distribution of proceeds. Winners must meet state requirements, including age and residency. They may also be required to report winnings to the IRS. Most states require winners to sign their winning tickets.

Despite the moral objections of devout Protestants, who argued that government-sanctioned gambling was immoral, early America found itself short on revenue and long on needs for public works. Lotteries helped finance everything from Boston’s Faneuil Hall to the Continental Congress’ unsuccessful attempt to hold a lottery to pay for the Revolutionary War. Lotteries were especially popular among the poor, who were able to participate with minimal expense and risk.

Cohen argues that the appeal of the lottery began to grow in the nineteenth century, when the growing awareness of all the money to be made by gambling collided with state funding crises. Many states, especially those that provided generous social safety nets, were finding it impossible to balance their budgets without raising taxes or cutting services. Lotteries, Cohen explains, offered a solution that was both cheap and easy to enact, which freed politicians from the politically toxic task of raising taxes or cutting services.

The New York State Gaming Commission’s regulations and directives govern the operation of the official lottery. The state does not sell tickets online, but customers can check winning numbers and buy tickets at authorized retailers throughout the state. The official app is available to download for iPhone and Android devices. Customers must use their registered mobile number to access the app and play. Msg & data rates apply.