The lottery industry has a variety of games that offer prizes that vary in value. Powerball, for example, is a multi-jurisdictional game where the prize can be large, with some lotteries offering electronic devices that send warnings of missing children. Players can choose to pass along their prize claim to another person, or they can opt to receive an annuity. Annuities are paid over a period of time rather than in a lump sum. Some lottery games also have a wager option known as “back pair.”
Throughout history, governments have used lotteries to finance important projects. In the Middle Ages, for example, governments used lottery profits to build fortifications and to provide for the poor. In the United States, the first lottery was held by George Washington in 1768, when tickets from his Mountain Road Lottery sold for as much as $15,000 each. Unlike today, governments recognize the value of lotteries and most countries have monopolies on the market. This way, private businesses cannot compete with the government for patronage.
US states also have lotteries. These include Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Some states do not have state-wide lottery systems, including Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii, Mississippi, and Nevada. However, Mega Millions and Powerball are available almost everywhere and are considered de facto national lottery games. For this reason, the lottery industry has a variety of legal issues to consider when moving them online.