An official lottery is a lottery that is run by a government, usually at the national or state level. Often there are restrictions and rules about the selling of tickets, as well as regulations about the age at which people can participate in lotteries.

A lottery is a game of chance in which numbers are drawn at random for a prize. The prize can be in the form of money, goods, or other prizes.

The earliest recorded lotteries were held during the Roman Empire, and were used to raise funds for public construction projects and other activities. They were a popular form of entertainment during dinner parties, and the prizes were typically expensive items.

In some countries, a lottery jackpot is paid in a lump sum rather than in installments over time. This option is more advantageous to the winner, as it reduces the amount of tax that he or she may have to pay on the winnings at the end of the tax year.

Some governments also regulate the sale of tickets to minors, or require the vendor to be licensed to sell them. In the United States, for example, lottery tickets are prohibited from being sold to minors and vendors must be licensed to sell them.

To claim a prize, a player must be at least 18 years old and show proof of identity. This includes a valid photo ID and social security card. Players must also verify their name on the ticket matches the one on the back of the ticket. If a winner’s name and social security number are not identical, the prize will be refunded.