Lottery Laws – The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly


The practice of dividing property by lot is as old as the Chinese Han dynasty. The Old Testament scriptures instruct Moses to take a census of the people of Israel, and then divide the land among them by lot. Ancient Roman emperors also used lotteries to distribute slaves and property. Lottery games were popular dinner entertainment and the word lottery itself comes from the Greek for “to carry home”.

Lottery dates back to the Chinese Han Dynasty

The first documented games of chance date to the Chinese Han Dynasty, between 205 and 187 BC. It is believed that these games helped finance important government projects. In the Chinese Book of Songs, the game of chance is referred to as “drawing wood” or “drawing lots.” In colonial America, lotteries became popular as a means of raising money for public projects without raising taxes. Lottery games were particularly popular among Catholic communities.

Lottery commissions

In recent years, many states have increased their lottery commissions to attract new sellers. The New York State Gaming Commission recently issued a statement saying any change in the commission structure for lottery agents must be carefully considered. A recent survey by the New York State Gaming Commission shows that lottery agents receive a 6% commission rate on ticket sales, a rate that has remained the same since 1967. But, Jim Calvin points out that minimum wage has increased by 60 percent over the past two decades, raising the cost of payroll for lottery sellers.

Lottery laws in eight states

Although lottery games have a lot of negative connotations, the legalities surrounding their implementation aren’t as bad as they seem. In fact, nearly every state has debated the lottery and its implementation in some form. Opponents claim that lotteries exploit low-income people, minorities, and the elderly. They claim that they unleash compulsive impulses that are harmful to society. However, lottery proponents argue that lottery games are acceptable and raise state revenues.

Lottery players

Research shows that the majority of lottery players are not desperate or poor. In fact, the number of players varies considerably by socio-economic and other factors. Men and whites play more often than blacks and Hispanics, and old people play less often than middle-aged people. In addition, lottery playing tends to fall with the level of formal education, while the number of non-lottery gamblers increases. And while lottery players are not all the same, many factors are common among them.

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