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What is Lottery?

Lottery is a type of gambling, in which players select numbers for a chance to win a prize. Many governments outlaw lottery games, while others endorse them and organize state and national lotteries. The rules of the lottery are regulated by the government. Lottery games can be both fun and profitable.

In the United States, lottery revenues go to a variety of programs, including education. In fiscal year 2006, the lottery brought in $17.1 billion, which is distributed to various beneficiaries. In total, $234.1 billion has been distributed to beneficiaries since 1967. The largest state lottery is New York, which has given out $30 billion in lottery profits to support education. California and New Jersey have each given out approximately $18 billion in lottery profits to fund education.

Lotteries have been in existence for centuries. As early as the 1760s, George Washington conducted a lottery to help finance the construction of the Mountain Road in Virginia. Benjamin Franklin supported lotteries during the American Revolution. In Boston, John Hancock ran a lottery to raise funds to rebuild Faneuil Hall. However, lotteries eventually fell out of favor and were criticized by the public. In the 1840s, several states banned the lottery, with one even banning it completely.

Lottery winners generally have six months or a year to collect their prizes. Some winners choose a lump sum payment and other lottery prizes are paid in annuities. The payouts are taxed as income.