Download the official lottery app for fun, convenience, and information on the go. Play the latest online games and Scratch-Offs, check results, enter Second-Chance Drawings, and more. Play responsibly. If gambling becomes a problem call 2-1-1 or GamblerND in North Dakota or Gamblers Anonymous for help. You must be 18 years of age or older to participate in the lottery.
The modern government-run lottery, which has become the most popular form of gambling in America, has been around for a few decades. It began, Cohen writes, when “growing awareness about all the money to be made in the gambling business collided with a crisis in state funding.” In the nineteen-sixties, states’ tax revenue was falling as the population grew and social safety net programs expanded. The resulting budget crises required them to raise taxes or cut services, options that were wildly unpopular with voters.
It’s not a coincidence, Cohen continues, that the first modern state lottery began in New Hampshire, a notoriously tax aversion state. Other states quickly followed, mainly in the Northeast and Rust Belt, as they were desperate for ways to balance their budgets without offending their anti-tax voters.
State officials and lottery commissions have every incentive to tell players and voters that the games are doing a good job of raising money for their states. But, in fact, of every dollar spent on a ticket, only about 40 percent goes to the state—and that’s a drop in the bucket compared to other sources of income for the state.