The Concept of an Official Lottery


A lottery is an event in which a prize, or series of prizes, are offered and drawn at random to determine the winner. Prizes are often money, goods or services. The concept of an official lottery is a relatively recent development in the history of gambling. However, humans have been engaging in games of chance for millennia. The first modern lottery was a state-sanctioned game established in New Hampshire in the 1960s. The game has since spread nationwide and is a multibillion-dollar industry.

In the fifteenth century, lotteries began to appear in Europe. They grew in popularity in the Low Countries, where towns used them to raise funds for town fortifications or to provide charity for the poor. The practice also took root in England, where Queen Elizabeth I chartered the first national lottery in 1567. Tickets cost ten shillings, a considerable sum for the time.

Government-sponsored lotteries are regulated by law. Their profits are earmarked for specified public purposes, such as education or economic development. Lotteries are generally considered less corrupt than other forms of gambling and have a lower rate of participation among people with low incomes. Nevertheless, they tend to create inequities by disproportionately benefiting college students and wealthier school districts.

A lottery vendor, lottery retailer, or lottery ticket holder who is aggrieved by an action of the board may petition an administrative law judge for review. An aggrieved person must file the petition within ten days after receiving notice of the action by the board.