The Official Lottery

The official lottery is a government-sponsored game that awards prizes to ticket holders based on a random drawing of numbers. In some countries, the winner may be awarded a cash prize or goods such as cars or houses. In others, the winner may choose to receive a percentage of the total prize pool. Lotteries have long been a popular way to raise money for public projects and charities. Historically, they have also been a source of revenue for states facing budget crises but unwilling to raise taxes.

In early America, lotteries were a common fundraising tool despite Protestant proscriptions against gambling and a general aversion to taxes. State governments were short on income and long on the need for public works, so they turned to lotteries to fill the gap. The first American lotteries were run by private companies, such as the infamous Louisiana State Lottery Company, which advertised in newspapers and sent tickets through the mail. These national lotteries, explains Cohen, “proved popular and profitable,” but they also became notorious for corruption and mismanagement.

By the fourteenth century, Europe had begun to adopt lotteries to fund town fortifications and, eventually, charity. The fad spread to North America, where Benjamin Franklin used it to help fund the city of Philadelphia. Later, John Hancock ran a lottery to build Boston’s Faneuil Hall and George Washington used one to fund construction of a road over the Appalachian Mountains.

Lottery profits were plowed back into the community in the form of public works, including schools, libraries, and hospitals. In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the lottery was even used to finance a civil defense system. In modern times, the popularity of the lottery has declined. But it has remained an important source of revenue for many states, including Pennsylvania.

Players must be 18 years or older to play the Pennsylvania Lottery. Winning numbers and prizes are posted on the Lottery’s websites after each drawing, which takes place under the supervision of an independent accounting firm. However, winning numbers from multi-state games are not included on the websites because each participating state manages its own prize pool. If you’re a winner, you must visit the Lottery headquarters in Middletown to claim your prize.

Beware of emails, phone calls or other communications claiming that you have won the lottery and asking you to wire funds or use a money-transfer service such as Zelle or cryptocurrency. These requests are often part of a money-mule scam, in which criminals recruit unwitting individuals to transfer unlawfully acquired proceeds on their behalf. The email will often appear to come from an official agency such as the National Sweepstakes Bureau and may use a legitimate-sounding name or a seal that resembles a federal government logo.