Lottery (lot’@ r
The lottery is a popular way to raise funds for many different purposes. It has wide appeal because it is easy to organize, inexpensive to promote, and can reach a large audience. In addition, the winnings of a lottery are usually tax-deductible. The word lottery is also used of any scheme for the distribution of prizes by chance. For example, the British Museum was originally financed by a lottery, as were the American colleges of Harvard, Dartmouth, Yale, King’s College (now Columbia), and William and Mary.
In the United States, state governments enact laws regulating and administering lotteries. Special lottery boards and commissions select and license retailers, train employees of those retailers to use lottery terminals, sell and redeem tickets, pay high-tier prizes, assist retailers in promoting their lotteries, and ensure that both players and retail outlets comply with the law.
A lottery is a game in which numbers are drawn at random to determine winners of a prize, usually a sum of money. Other games that are sometimes called lotteries are raffles, scratch-off tickets, and keno. To say that something is a lottery is to suggest that it depends on luck or chance, as in: The stock market is a lottery.