What is the Lottery?


The lottery is the name for a game in which bettors pay for a ticket, select a group of numbers or have machines randomly spit them out, and win prizes if enough of their numbers match those picked by a machine. It is a type of gambling that appeals to people’s deepest cravings for money and the things it can buy. It is also a form of coveting, which God forbids (see Exodus 20:17 and Ecclesiastes 5:10).

Lottery grew to prominence in the fourteenth century, becoming common in the Low Countries, where town fortifications and charitable work depended on it. By the sixteenth century, it was well established in England as a way of raising funds for the Crown and its allies, as well as other institutions that the government allowed to participate. Tickets cost ten shillings, a sum that made it possible to buy one’s freedom from prison or a knighthood.

A modern state-run lottery usually has the following elements: a prize to be awarded, a selection process to determine winners, and some consideration paid by bettors. It may use a variety of ways to record the identities and amounts staked by each bettor. For example, it may require that each bettor write his name on a receipt that will be deposited with the lottery organization for shuffling and selection in the drawing. Or it may use a computer to record each bettor’s selected numbers or randomly generated ones.

Posted in: Gambling