The Official Lottery

Official lottery offers a variety of games including instant scratch-off tickets, three and four-digit games, Keno, and video lottery terminals. Players must be 18 years or older to purchase tickets. The New York State Gaming Commission oversees the operation of the official lottery. Its rules, regulations and directives govern all aspects of the games, including how they are played. Winning numbers and other information about the lottery are posted on the official lottery website.

The history of lotteries in the United States dates back to America’s colonial days, when private citizens and public officials staged them to raise money for various projects and causes, ranging from building homes and schools to aiding private initiatives. But crooked lotteries proved rampant, and by 1860 all but a few states had banned them. The Louisiana Lottery Company, which drew its revenue from tickets sold outside state lines, allegedly amassed immense sums from bribery.

State lotteries promote themselves as a source of funding for local projects that help improve the lives of their residents. But the odds of winning are astronomically low, and critics say they prey on vulnerable Americans. For example, they are heavily marketed in communities that are disproportionately poor and Black, and often serve as a proxy for economic opportunity. As a result, Cohen writes, those communities spend much more on state-sponsored games than do wealthier ones, and they have little to show for it. The same is true for other commercially marketed forms of gambling, such as casinos and sports betting.