Play your favorite official state lottery games on your phone. Just don’t play while crossing streets, operating motor vehicles, or using chain saws. Otherwise, enjoy your lotto wherever you are.

Lotteries have a long history in the United States and around the world, from the Irish Hospitals’ Sweepstakes of the 1800s to today’s government-run games that raise money for a variety of purposes. Regardless of how they’re designed, though, they all work by offering bettors the chance to win a prize based on the combination of numbers or symbols on a ticket.

The earliest lotteries were simple, with bettors writing their names on tickets or numbered receipts and depositing them for shuffling and possible selection in a drawing. Today, many lotteries use computers to record bettor information and choose winners. In either case, bettors pay a small sum of money for the chance to win a large amount of money.

Some critics argue that lotteries encourage people to gamble, despite the odds of winning, and that they also create new generations of gamblers. Others point to a general sense of state need that drove states to enact lotteries, as well as the belief that gambling is inevitable, and that it makes more financial sense for governments to offer regulated and centralized betting than to rely on sporadic taxes and fees.

New York’s Lottery was launched in 1967 with the promise that proceeds would be used for education. Since then, its proceeds have boosted state education funding and helped build such projects as the Brooklyn Bridge and New York City Hall. New York Lottery winners are subject to local withholding and federal income tax reporting.