The New York Lottery began in 1967 with the slogan “Your Chance of a Lifetime to Help Education,” and its philanthropic work has raised over 34 billion dollars for educational purposes. The lottery’s website is regularly updated with winning numbers, prize payouts and more, and is a great resource for those looking to win big.
Early critics of state-sponsored gambling hailed from both parties and every walk of life; devout Protestants in particular viewed government-sanctioned lotteries as morally unconscionable. They questioned whether states would really benefit from such revenue and the amount that lottery profits could realistically generate.
Despite such objections, lottery supporters eventually dominated the debate, arguing that states had a duty to offer a chance at wealth to those who could not afford to play private games or did not want to spend the time needed to do so. This argument reframed the lottery as a form of public service rather than a form of taxation, which many voters found appealing.
Lottery opponents, however, countered that the money a lottery generated was not enough to pay for most state services and that it would be more effective for politicians to simply raise taxes, a prospect that frightened voters. In the late nineteen-thirties and forties, a broad-based tax revolt swept through America, spurred by the success of Proposition 13, which cut property taxes in California and inspired similar measures across the country.
Advocates of the official lottery responded to this shift by abandoning the claim that it would float most of a state’s budget and instead pledging that it would support a single line item, invariably education but also such favored services as elder care or public parks. This strategy enabled advocates to present a lottery as a “budgetary miracle,” a way for politicians to avoid raising taxes while still maintaining the appearance of fiscal discipline.