Lottery Information For Retailers


A lottery is a type of gambling in which tickets with numbers are drawn at random to determine winners. Prizes may be cash or goods. The lottery is a popular form of gambling in the United States, but some people argue that it preys on those who need to spend carefully to stay out of debt and make savings decisions.

In the United States, lotteries are most commonly run by state governments or their subdivisions. According to a 1998 report by the Council of State Governments, all but four of the country’s lotteries are administered directly by governmental agencies. Lottery oversight generally rests with the state’s lottery board or commission, though enforcement powers for fraud and abuse may fall under the jurisdiction of the state attorney general’s office, a state police agency, or a specific lottery enforcement unit.

Retailers who sell lottery tickets are primarily compensated by a percentage of the revenue that they bring in. In addition, many states offer incentive programs that reward retailers if they meet certain sales goals. In 2003, according to NASPL, nearly 186,000 retailers sold lottery tickets nationwide. These include convenience stores, supermarkets, gas stations, service stations, restaurants and bars, bowling alleys, and newsstands.

In colonial America, lotteries were used to raise money for a variety of public projects including roads, libraries, colleges, canals, and bridges. At the start of the Revolutionary War, Alexander Hamilton argued that “it is better to hazard a trifling sum for the chance of considerable gain” than to tax citizens heavily for government services.