Lottery Issues

A lottery is a system for awarding prizes, by chance, to people who purchase tickets with numbers on them. The winnings are then pooled and distributed to the winners by a central authority. Lotteries are commonly used to raise money for public projects and charities. But, while these initiatives may help to generate some extra cash, they also come with a host of issues.

Lottery marketers typically promote the idea that winning the jackpot will solve life’s problems. This is a clear violation of the biblical command against covetousness (Exodus 20:17). Moreover, it’s not surprising that most lottery players are covetous: God has already warned us that riches and material wealth cannot satisfy our spiritual longings.

Most state lotteries operate under the same basic model: the government establishes a monopoly for itself; hires an outside company to administer the lottery and market it; begins operations with a modest number of relatively simple games; then, in response to constant pressure to raise revenue, progressively expands its scope and complexity, particularly by adding new games. This strategy has led to a second set of concerns: the proliferation of gambling promotes social inequality by inflicting large burdens on those with lower incomes. The lottery is thus at cross-purposes with the state’s legitimate social and fiscal functions.