a lottery is a form of gambling in which tickets are sold and prizes are drawn for various reasons, including raising funds for public purposes. The first recorded lotteries were in 15th-century Burgundy and Flanders, with towns attempting to raise money to fortify their defenses or aid the poor. The name is probably derived from the Dutch word lot, meaning ‘fate’ or ‘chance’.
Lottery prizes are usually a sum of money, but they may also be goods or services. The prizes are awarded by drawing lots or in accordance with a predetermined system, such as a series of draws or a random selection process. Often, only a single prize is offered, but occasionally a large or multiple prizes are awarded. The value of the prize is commonly determined by dividing the total pool of prizes by the number of tickets sold. The amount paid to the winner is usually less than the advertised jackpot, because of the time value of money and income tax withholdings.
In some countries, the government runs a state-sponsored lotteries. The proceeds from these lotteries are used for a variety of purposes, including education. Click on a county in the map below to see how lottery funds are distributed for that area’s public schools. This information is based on quarterly reports submitted to the State Controller’s Office.