What is a Lottery?


A lottery is an arrangement in which prizes are allocated to individuals or groups by a process that relies wholly on chance. Prizes may be monetary or non-monetary. The word is derived from the Latin lotto, meaning “fate” or “destiny”. Lotteries were common in colonial America, where they played a significant role in funding roads, canals, churches, colleges, and even the Continental Army.

The lottery became popular in the United States during the post-World War II period when states were attempting to expand their social safety nets without onerous tax increases on middle class and working class citizens. The lottery grew especially rapidly in the Northeast, where many residents commuted to work in other states and had to cross state lines to buy tickets.

The most important thing to remember when playing the lottery is that it is a form of gambling. People gamble in the hope that they will win money and that their problems will be solved, but this is a lie from the devil (see Ecclesiastes 5:10). The real reason that most people gamble is that they covet money and the things it can buy. The Bible clearly forbids covetousness (Exodus 20:17).