The Evil of Lottery


Lottery is a form of result sdy gambling in which tickets are sold and prizes are awarded by chance. A lottery can be organized to raise money for a public charitable purpose or as an alternative to taxation. Each state enacts its own laws regulating lotteries and assigns a lottery division to administer them. These departments select and license retailers, train their employees to use lottery terminals to sell and redeem tickets, collect taxes and other fees from players, pay winners, and ensure that state law is observed. They may also distribute promotional materials and other information to players.

Lotteries appeal to the human desire to dream big. People are drawn to the idea that their life’s problems will be solved if they win the lottery. However, God forbids coveting the possessions of others (Exodus 20:17). Rather, he says to love your neighbor as yourself (Romans 12:10). Lottery players, like all gamblers, are in danger of coveting their neighbors’ money and the things it can buy.

The first recorded lotteries to offer tickets with monetary prizes were in the 15th century in Burgundy and Flanders, where towns held them to raise money for town fortifications or help the poor. Francis I of France introduced public lotteries to his kingdom in the 16th century, and they became very popular. By the 17th century, privately-organized lotteries were common in England and America as a means of raising voluntary taxes, which helped build Harvard, Dartmouth, Yale, King’s College (now Columbia), and other American colleges.

In modern times, the lottery has largely replaced sales taxes and other forms of taxation to raise state revenues. Lottery revenues have grown to be among the largest sources of state income, and people across the country spend billions of dollars on tickets every year. The popularity of the lottery has fueled a rapid expansion of public services, such as education and road improvements.

But the public good isn’t always achieved at a reasonable price. Lottery tickets are expensive to produce and maintain, while the likelihood of winning is minuscule. This combination of high cost and low probability makes it hard for many people to rationally choose to play.

The lottery is not evil, but it’s worth thinking about how much we can afford to pay for it before we sign up. In the long run, it’s not as beneficial for most people as it seems. For some, however, the entertainment value and other non-monetary benefits of the lottery may outweigh the disutility of losing a small amount of money. And for these people, it may be a rational decision to purchase a ticket. For everyone else, the decision to play the lottery is a morally dubious one. Read the full article here.