Lottery Regulation – Is it Right For Government to Manage a Lottery?

A lottery is a form of gambling where people purchase tickets with the hope of winning big. Despite the fact that there is a greater chance of being struck by lightning than winning the Mega Millions jackpot, many people still play and continue to invest their money in this activity. However, lottery is not without its critics, as it has been known to lead to addiction and a decline in the quality of life of those who participate.

Most state lotteries operate under similar arrangements: the government establishes a monopoly, usually by legislation; creates a public corporation or state agency to administer and promote the lottery (as opposed to licensing a private firm for a fee); begins with a modest number of relatively simple games; and, as pressure mounts for additional revenues, progressively expands the size and complexity of its operations.

Lotteries are an excellent source of revenue for states, especially those that rely on them for much of their funding. They allow governments to expand their array of services, and are popular with a large portion of the population, especially those who are reluctant to support government through taxes.

But, while there is no doubt that the lottery is a legitimate source of revenue, questions remain about the ability of government at any level to manage an activity from which it profits. In an anti-tax era, state governments have come to depend on lottery revenues to fund services that they could not otherwise afford to offer, but the question remains whether this is the right thing to do.