Is the Lottery an Appropriate Function for Government?

The lottery is a form of gambling in which people pay a small amount of money to try to win large prizes. It is run by state governments and it’s a popular way to raise funds for things like public education, roads, and subsidized housing. However, the lottery’s promotion of gambling may have negative consequences for the poor and problem gamblers, and it seems that state officials run the lottery at cross-purposes to the larger public interest.

Lottery revenues are typically high right after they’re introduced, then level off and decline. As a result, state lotteries are constantly introducing new games in a bid to maintain or increase revenues. This approach has generated many questions, including whether the lottery is an appropriate function for government at any level.

The state controller’s office determines how much lottery money is dispersed to each county. Click or tap a county on the map to view their contribution levels, or use the search box above to type in a county name. Lottery money is also distributed to community college and higher education based on average daily attendance (ADA) and full-time enrollment, respectively. These numbers are based on quarterly reports provided by the lottery to the state controller’s office. The figures are subject to revision as the data are collected and verified.