Official lottery games, results, and information. You can play Powerball & Mega Millions on your phone! Msg & data rates may apply. Play responsibly. Never play while crossing streets or operating motor vehicles. You must be 18 or older to purchase a ticket.
Lotteries were once an essential source of state revenue, providing funds for a range of civic projects including bridges, canals, and ferries. They also helped finance New York City Hall, as well as the construction of many roads and canals. But as with most things in American history, corruption arose and the initial era of state-run lotteries came to an end by the nineteenth century. One of the most famous lotteries, in Louisiana, was run by the notoriously corrupt Louisiana State Lottery Company, which generated huge profits by selling tickets to out-of-state players. This operation was so shady that it eventually led to a federal ban on interstate lotteries, which ultimately ended the Louisiana lottery and put an end to state-run lotteries in America.
In the nineteen-sixties, as states faced a growing population, rising inflation, and escalating war costs, they began to scramble for ways to maintain essential services without raising taxes or cutting social programs. State leaders embraced the idea of a lottery as a budgetary miracle, arguing that they could bring in hundreds of millions of dollars with very little effort. This was, Cohen writes, a belief that was “partly driven by the inextricable human impulse to gamble” but also by states’ desire to avoid the “awful stigma of raising taxes.”