What is a Lottery?


A lottery is any gambling game in which you pay to have a chance to win something. The prizes can be cash or anything else that might appeal to potential bettors, including property or even a chance at a cure for cancer. For a lottery to be legal, it must meet certain requirements. First, there must be a way to record the identities of bettors and the amounts staked. Second, the prize pool must be large enough to draw people. Third, a percentage of the pool must go toward the costs of organizing and promoting the lottery, and a proportion must be set aside for taxes and profits.

The modern lottery came into existence in the nineteen-sixties, when growing awareness of all the money to be made in the gambling business and a crisis in state funding intersected. With populations swelling and inflation rising, state governments struggled to balance budgets without raising taxes or cutting services. Raising taxes was highly unpopular with voters, so a lottery offered states an alternative.

In Shirley Jackson’s short story “The Lottery,” Mr. Summers, a man who symbolizes authority, pulls out an ancient black box and stirs the papers inside. A boy from the Hutchinson family then takes his turn to draw a number. The lottery is not really about winning, but about making sure that you are one of the ones who does not lose. The story demonstrates that democracy is not always fair and that evil can lurk in small, peaceful looking places.

You May Also Like

More From Author