Public Fundraising Through the Lottery


The lottery is one of the oldest forms of public fundraising. It was first introduced in the Low Countries in the 15th century. New York City’s lottery generated $53.6 million in its first year. Its success attracted residents of neighboring states to buy tickets, and by the 1970s, 12 other states were operating lotteries. The lottery became an entrenched institution in the Northeast, fueled by the need to fund public projects and by large Catholic populations who were generally accepting of gambling activities.

The lottery game is played by purchasing tickets for a prize based on a random drawing. The lottery is usually organized to provide large cash prizes to lucky winners. In some cases, a portion of the proceeds of a lottery are donated to charitable organizations. For the most part, lottery tickets are not very expensive.

The American Lottery has grown steadily over the years. As of FY 2006, lottery sales in the U.S. topped $56.4 billion. This represents an increase of 6.6% since the previous fiscal year. Historically, lotteries have been a lucrative source of funding for public projects. Although they have remained an important source of revenue for state governments, many believe that they are nothing more than a hidden tax.

Lotteries have partnered with companies, sports franchises, and even cartoon characters. A recent example of this is the New Jersey Lottery Commission’s announcement of a Harley-Davidson motorcycle scratch game prize. Brand names have become popular for lottery games, and many lottery officials are pursuing joint merchandising deals with brands to promote their products and gain exposure through advertising.