New York Lottery

The New York lottery is one of the biggest in the world. It started in 1967 and has raised billions of dollars in revenue for education since then. The New York Lottery is regulated by the state gaming commission and has an extensive list of games available for players. It also offers instant tickets and scratch-offs. Players can purchase a ticket from an authorized retailer or online.

Advocates of lotteries used to argue that they would help fund the business of a state without raising taxes. But that claim, which prompted states to legalize lotteries, turned out to be false. The money that the first legalized lotteries brought in, on average, covered about two per cent of a state’s expenses.

Lottery advocates soon adapted by narrowing the focus of what they could promise. Instead of claiming that a lottery’s proceeds would float a whole government budget, they began to emphasize that the money would cover a specific line item—most often education but sometimes elder care or public parks or aid for veterans. This approach made legalization campaigns easier to manage. A vote for the lottery was not a vote for gambling but for a service that most voters believed to be important.

The money that a state’s lottery brings in matters, but it is far less than the billions claimed by its promoters. And much of it comes from poor citizens, whose incomes are already squeezed by regressive taxation.