The Dark Underbelly of the Lottery

a competition in which numbered tickets are sold and prizes are given to those who win; often the proceeds of such a contest are used for public works.

Lottery live draw sdy, as a way to make money, is an ancient pastime—it’s even attested in the Bible, where the casting of lots is used for everything from who gets to keep Jesus’s garments after the Crucifixion to the number of slaves each master will retain. In modern times, it’s become a staple of American culture, raising billions of dollars every year. The winners are mostly middle- and lower-class people who can’t afford to live without it, but there’s a dark underbelly, too.

In a society where many people are struggling, winning the lottery can feel like the last glimmer of hope. That’s why so many players keep buying tickets, even though they know the odds are stacked against them. They’re hooked on the thrill of the long shot.

Cohen writes that the lottery’s rise to prominence began in the nineteen-sixties, when a population boom and inflation sparked a state budget crisis. For politicians facing that crisis, he argues, the lottery was a kind of magic bullet—a way to raise millions of dollars without hiking taxes or cutting services, both of which would be unpopular with voters. And, as he shows in this piece, they’re not above manipulating psychology to keep people playing. Everything from the ad campaigns to the math on the front of the tickets is designed to hook players and keep them coming back for more.