What is a Lottery?

A lottery is a process by which winners are selected by chance, sometimes with prizes in the form of money or goods. Lotteries are often run by state or federal governments and are popular forms of gambling. They encourage people to pay a small amount of money for the chance to win a large sum of money. In the US, state governments use lottery funds for infrastructure projects, education, and gambling addiction initiatives.

A simple, concise video describing what is a lottery in a way that would be useful for kids & beginners. It could be used as a money & personal finance lesson plan, or part of a K-12 curriculum.

In the early modern period, Europeans began to hold public lotteries to raise money for towns and town fortifications, as well as to help poor citizens. The first recorded lotteries with tickets for sale and prize money in the form of cash was held in the Low Countries in the 15th century. The towns of Ghent, Utrecht and Bruges hold records from that time showing lotteries in operation for the sale of lottery tickets for money or goods.

In colonial America, lotteries were common and helped to fund public works such as canals, roads, bridges, schools, churches, and colleges. The lottery was also a significant source of revenue for the Continental Congress at the outset of the Revolutionary War, and Alexander Hamilton argued that a “little risk” was worth a chance to gain much more than a person could reasonably expect to earn by working.