What is a Lottery?

Lottery is a form of gambling in which one or more lots are purchased and then randomly selected to win a prize. While some forms of gambling involve skill, a lottery does not, and in order for a lottery to be fair, it must be run so that all participants have an equal chance of winning. For this reason, lottery games must be conducted in a manner that is free of outside interference.

While many people covet money, and even more so the things that money can buy, God forbids coveting: “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house, his wife, his slave, his ox or donkey, or anything that is his.” (Exodus 20:17; Ecclesiastes 5:10). People who play the lottery are often lured into it with promises that their lives will improve if they hit the jackpot, but as a biblical prophet once wrote, “There is nothing new under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:9).

In the nineteen-seventies and eighties, as income inequality widened, unemployment climbed, health-care costs soared, and pensions and job security eroded, America’s love affair with unimaginable wealth, including dreams of hitting the lottery, intensified. It coincided with a dramatic shift in how government gets its revenue, as voters revolted against taxes. New Hampshire became the first state to legalize lottery gambling, and other states followed suit, mainly in the Northeast and Rust Belt.