The Official Lottery

The US spends upward of $100 billion a year on lottery tickets, and state lotteries promote their games as ways to raise money for schools and other causes. But putting that revenue into perspective shows how small an impact it actually has on overall state budgets: just over 40 percent of each ticket sale goes to the government, and most of that ends up being a drop in the bucket compared to other sources of public revenue.

Despite their popularity, state lotteries face criticism from those who believe they are unfair to the poorest households. And a nationwide investigation by The Howard Center for Investigative Journalism found that retailers of state lottery products are disproportionately concentrated in low-income communities, and that these stores skew the results of the official lotteries.

While there are a wide variety of lottery games, the basic components of each are similar: a mechanism for collecting and pooling bets; a means of recording bettors’ identities; and a system for shuffling, selecting and determining winners. Many modern lotteries use computers to record bets and to select winners. Historically, the most popular games have been those where a bettors’ name or number(s) are drawn from a pool of entries.

The New York Lottery is a government-operated lottery with the mission of raising funds for education and other public needs. The Lottery offers a wide selection of games and provides services including lottery results, online services, and information about the Lottery. It also supports responsible gaming and encourages players to be aware of their gambling habits.