The History of Lottery Games and What You Can Do to Protect Yourself From Them


A lottery is a form of gambling in which numbers are drawn to determine winners. It is a popular way to raise money for public causes, but it also can be addictive. In this article, we’ll take a look at the history of lotteries and what you can do to protect yourself from them.

In the immediate post-World War II period, many states adopted lotteries as a way to grow their social safety nets without having to increase taxes too much, particularly on the middle and working classes. This arrangement lasted until the 1960s, when inflation ate away at the lottery’s popularity.

Lotteries have a long tradition, but modern state-run games are often based on innovations that began in the 1970s. Prior to that, they were typically traditional raffles in which the public bought tickets for a drawing that was weeks or even months away. These innovations, however, allow the lottery to be played in the form of instant-game products, such as scratch-off tickets. Unlike their more-traditional counterparts, these games require no waiting time and offer lower prize amounts but far higher odds of winning.

Some people play the lottery for purely recreational reasons, but others buy in bulk to make it a full-time endeavor. This kind of behavior is a problem, but it is not the only issue with state-sponsored gambling. As this HuffPost article explains, lotteries rely on the same players to drive revenues. These “super users” skew the success-to-failure ratio of the game, and they can make it hard for other players to win.