Lottery Industry


A lottery is a game of chance in which people buy tickets with numbers. Several numbers are chosen, and those who have the correct ones on their tickets win a prize. This is a popular form of gambling.

Lottery games vary greatly in the amounts and types of prizes they offer. Some are based on a fixed amount of cash or goods, while others use a percentage of the proceeds from ticket sales as the prize pool. Some have jackpots that may be several million dollars.


The lottery industry is a multibillion-dollar business. In 2003, according to the North American Association of State and Provincial Lotteries (NASPL), nearly 186,000 retailers were selling lottery tickets throughout the United States. These outlets include convenience stores, drugstores, grocery stores, service stations, restaurants and bars, bowling alleys, and newsstands.

Merchandising and Advertising

Many lottery companies partner with well-known brands to provide popular products as prizes. These merchandising deals help to generate product exposure and advertising revenue.

Rules and Regulations

Each lottery has a specific set of rules that must be followed to qualify for the game. These rules vary by state.

State lottery agencies are governed by state legislatures. Some are directly administered by a lottery board or commission, while others are privately operated corporations.

The lottery industry is a successful way to raise money for public projects without increasing taxes. Nevertheless, it is important to recognize that insufficient prize money is a common problem. A 1999 Gallup Organization survey found that 66% of Americans would be more likely to play the lottery if proceeds were set aside for specific causes rather than put into a state’s general fund.