The Politics of the Lottery

In the Shirley Jackson short story “The Lottery togel sydney,” middle-aged housewife Tessie is late for the celebration of the town’s lottery because she still has to do the dishes. At the party, each family draws a set of tickets, all of which are blank except for one marked with a black dot. If the head of the household draws the black dot, he or she must draw again, for another ticket. And so on.

The idea of state-run lotteries dates to the early seventeenth century, and they spread quickly. They were praised as a way of funding everything from civil defense to building new churches, despite Protestant religious proscriptions against gambling. Many of America’s most famous universities owe their existence to lottery money, and the Continental Congress used a lotteries to fund its revolutionary war.

A state’s decision to run a lottery is a political one, but it also has profound effects on people’s lives and their communities. The first requirement for running a lottery is money to pay prizes. A percentage of this must go to the costs of organizing and promoting it, and a larger amount goes as profits and taxes to the state or sponsor. The remainder is available to winners.

As with all commercial products, lotteries are responsive to economic fluctuations. They increase their revenues and popularity when unemployment and poverty rates rise, and they tend to be advertised heavily in neighborhoods that are disproportionately poor, black, or Latino. This concentration of the commercialization of gambling is not a coincidence, and it raises important questions about the proper role of governments in promoting gambling.