What is a Lottery?


A lottery is a form of gambling where prizes are awarded by chance. They can be used for military conscription, commercial promotions, and jury selection in elections.

The first two elements of a lottery are a mechanism for collecting money as stakes, and a pool of available prizes. The costs of organizing and promoting the lottery must be deducted from this pool; and some portion of the remaining funds is earmarked for the prizes.

Once established, the lottery attracts broad public support. In many states, 60% of adults play at least once a year. It also develops extensive specific constituencies, including convenience store operators; suppliers of the tickets and their products; state politicians (in those states where revenues are primarily used for education); teachers; and others.