Lottery is a form of gambling wherein numbers are drawn to determine the winner. It has been around for centuries and is a popular way to raise funds for state projects and charities. However, there are also many people who feel that it is a corrupt practice. While the odds of winning a lottery are low, it is possible to win big money in the long run. Many people use the money to invest in a business or to pay off credit card debt. Others spend it on a vacation or purchase expensive items. This article discusses why people should not participate in the lottery and what to do instead.
The story opens in a rural village where traditions and customs are deeply ingrained in the population. Jackson uses the first sentence in her short to convey this fact: “The children assembled first, of course” (Jackson 1). Children are portrayed as innocent and a sense of excitement is felt by the reader. This is a stark contrast to the morals of the townspeople who are about to partake in murder.
In the seventeenth century, lottery proceeds were used to finance settlement of the New England colonies, as well as for construction of public works such as roads and wharves. Privately organized lotteries were common, despite Protestant prohibitions on gambling. In the nineteenth century, state-sponsored lotteries helped finance several American colleges—Harvard, Yale, Dartmouth, and King’s College. In the early twentieth century, state legislators began to see lotteries as a solution to budget crises and tax revolts, generating a new wave of support for them.
The popularity of state-sponsored lotteries during this period coincided with a decline in financial security for most working Americans. In the nineteen seventies and eighties, income inequality grew, pensions and job security disappeared, health-care costs rose, and unemployment rates increased. Many families struggled to make ends meet, and the old promise that hard work and education would allow them to live comfortably and securely ceased to be true for most of the middle class.
A major appeal of state-sponsored lotteries was that they allowed citizens to gamble and potentially become rich without breaking the law or having any financial consequences. Dismissing long-standing ethical objections to gambling, proponents of state lotteries argued that if the public was going to play games of chance anyway—whether by buying tickets or shooting heroin—then governments might as well collect the profits.
This change in attitude was fueled by the fact that states were struggling with budget crises and sought solutions that wouldn’t enrage anti-tax voters. In 1964, New Hampshire launched the modern era of state-sponsored lotteries, and the trend spread rapidly.
The state-sponsored lottery has become a mainstay of the American landscape, raising some $80 billion a year for state coffers. Almost all of this money comes from the poorest Americans, who often see the lottery as an alternative to paying taxes or reducing their debt. Even among the wealthiest, however, the lottery remains a popular activity, with nearly sixty percent of adults playing it at least once a year.