The Official Lottery

The official lottery is responsible for administering, regulating, enforcing, and promoting the state’s lotteries. The agency encourages responsible play and urges players to play within their means. It also provides a number of resources for those who have gambling issues.

Some people simply like to gamble, and there’s something inextricably human about it. But the ubiquity of casinos, sports betting, horse races and even lottery ads raises questions about whether government should be in the business of promoting a vice that can lead to addiction.

Lotteries have been around a long time. In the early post-World War II era, they were seen as a way to expand social safety nets without especially onerous taxes on the middle and working classes. That arrangement began to crumble by the 1960s, in part because of inflation and in part because of the high cost of the Vietnam War.

The first lottery was created by Francis I of France in the 1500s. But it didn’t become a national practice until the end of the 17th century, when Louis XIV introduced a public lottery in Paris called the Loterie de la Chambre de l’Hotel. Private lotteries continued to be popular in England and the United States, as well as at many American colleges including Harvard, Yale and William and Mary.

Lottery scammers try to elicit impulsive responses from would-be winners by using phrasing such as “act now!” and “this is your last chance!” They also try to keep potential victims secret from family members or other advisers, which can lead to financial ruin for those who are already struggling. They may even try to reach out via social media, posing as representatives of the lottery or sweepstakes they claim to run.