Throughout history, the lottery has been a popular source of funding for good causes. Many states donate a portion of the lottery’s revenue to a variety of causes, including education, veterans, and senior citizens. The origins of the lottery are unknown, but they have been traced back to ancient times, including the Old Testament, when Moses was instructed to take a census of the population of Israel. In the seventeenth century, lottery funding was used to fund public-works projects, wars, and other projects, and by private organizations as a source of revenue.
The results of the NGISC’s study also indicated that lottery players are not evenly distributed by income. Those living in low-income households and those with low educational attainment tend to spend more on lottery tickets than those in higher-income groups. Furthermore, lottery players with lower incomes spent four times more on the lottery than those with higher incomes. And African-Americans spent five times more on the lottery than their white counterparts.
Although lottery sales declined in 2002, the U.S. market was still a substantial part of the global lottery market. As of August 2004, forty states operated lotteries. This means that more than 90 percent of the country’s population lives in a state with a lottery.