Official Lottery offers fun, convenience, and information to players on the go. Players can check results, purchase tickets online or at physical retailers, and play games such as New York Lotto, Powerball, Mega Millions, Cash4Life, and Take 5.
State lottery profits have been a big part of America’s tax history for generations. In his book “The State of Lotteries,” historian Richard Cohen writes that early America, defined by its aversion to taxes, saw the lottery as a way to raise money for things that were expensive but popular and nonpartisan—education, elder care, public parks, aid to veterans.
In the end, though, that revenue has tended to be “a drop in the bucket compared to broader state budgets,” he writes. Even the huge jackpots, which drive ticket sales and earn the games a windfall of free publicity on news sites and TV, do not translate into much real wealth for the winners. Stefan Mandel, who has won the lottery 14 times, says he gave away most of his winnings to investors and ended up with only $97,000.
In the end, what makes people keep playing is a combination of human insecurities and an implicit belief that we are all owed something good by life’s luck. But that luck has a hidden cost: In the age of inequality and diminished social mobility, lottery advertising dangles the promise of instant riches for anyone who has the right numbers. And that’s a dangerous thing.