The Official Lottery

Official Lottery

The casting of lots to decide fates and distribute wealth has a long record, including multiple instances in the Bible. But modern lotteries are a relatively new phenomenon, having emerged in the 1960s as state governments struggled to balance budgets and appeal to tax-averse voters. Their popularity has soared in recent decades as states look for ways to increase revenues without triggering a backlash against taxes. In the meantime, critics argue that lotteries encourage addictive gambling behavior and are a major regressive tax on low-income groups.

Until recently, state lotteries operated much like traditional raffles: The public would buy tickets for a drawing at some future date, usually weeks or even months out. But innovations in the 1970s—in particular, scratch-off games—created a booming business for lottery operators. The games essentially replace the need to wait for a drawing by allowing players to win money in a matter of minutes. And because of the quick payout, they appeal to a certain type of player who might otherwise miss out on the chance to win big in a traditional raffle.

Many lotteries offer a variety of games, including traditional lotto (the drawing of numbers for a prize) and instant games (such as scratch-off tickets). In addition, the majority of US lotteries feature at least one game that is similar to keno. Most of these games can be played in a variety of ways, including via the internet and mobile devices.

A key to the success of lotteries is the way in which proceeds are earmarked for specific government services, such as education. This strategy is intended to help win over voters worried about the lottery’s impact on gambling addiction and other social problems. It has been effective: Studies show that the percentage of lottery proceeds that are earmarked for programs such as education increases as state legislatures adopt the strategy.

However, critics argue that the earmarking of lottery funds is misleading. Rather than increasing the appropriations that are allocated to a particular program, the “earmarked” money simply reduces the amount of general fund money that is available for that purpose. This is a critical point in the debate over the lottery’s role in public funding.

Each ticket is valid only for the person(s) whose name(s) appear in the designated space on the rear portion of the ticket. Upon surrender of the ticket to the Ohio Lottery, the person(s) appearing for payment shall sign a statement on the claim form identifying themselves as the same persons whose name(s) appear on the rear portion of the ticket. The ticket must be redeemed within 182 days from the draw date. The Ohio Lottery is not responsible for lost, stolen, mutilated or misprinted tickets. This policy does not apply to lottery games purchased at retail outlets. See the official rules for details.