A scheme for raising money by selling chances to share in a distribution of prizes, the winners being selected by chance from among persons purchasing tickets. The prize may be cash, goods or services. The word lottery is derived from the Dutch noun “lot” meaning fate. Lotteries were introduced in Europe in the 15th century, with towns seeking to raise money for defense, aiding the poor, and public works projects. Francis I of France established the first French lottery in 1539.
Typically, the prize is fixed as a percentage of the total amount of tickets sold. The prize can also be a fixed sum of goods or services, such as an automobile, vacation, or household appliance. Many recent lotteries allow purchasers to select their own numbers, increasing the number of potential winners.
The vast majority of people who win the lottery choose to receive a lump sum rather than an annuity, which would pay out the prize over several years. This is often viewed as a more tax-efficient way to receive the money.
The New York Lottery contributes a significant portion of its proceeds to education. The State Controller’s Office determines how much Lottery funds are distributed to each county based on Average Daily Attendance for K-12 school districts and full-time enrollment for higher education and other specialized institutions. Click or tap a county on the map, or enter a county name in the search box below to see how much Lottery funding is received by that community.