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The Benefits of Playing the Lottery

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Lotteries were first recorded in the 15th century in the Low Countries. They were used to raise funds for poor people and a variety of public works. In the Netherlands, they were popular and were hailed as an easy and inexpensive method of taxation. The oldest continuously running lottery, the Staatsloterij of Ghent, was founded in 1612. The English word lottery comes from the Dutch noun “loot”, which means “fate.”

Since the lottery is popular, many states have adopted this practice. Some states, such as Colorado, have had lotteries since 1890. Other states have introduced lotteries as recently as the 2000s. Unlike other forms of gambling, a lottery is administered by a state or federal government. As of August 2004, lottery operators in the U.S. operate in forty states. By this time, it was estimated that nearly 90 percent of the country lived in a state with an operating lottery.

Lotteries can be used for anything from housing units to kindergarten placement to large cash prizes. There are even lottery games dedicated to sports, such as the National Basketball Association (NBA). In this game, five numbers are randomly drawn from a pool of 70. If one of these numbers is the jackpot winner, the winning team is able to draft the best college players.

In the United States, approximately 17 percent of lottery players play the lottery daily or weekly. Thirteen percent of lottery players play the lottery once or twice a month, while the rest play one to three times a month or less frequently. The lottery is popular with middle-aged men in the middle class. Interestingly, a survey by the Vinson Institute reveals that a high percentage of African-Americans play the lottery.

A lot of lotteries have partnered with sports franchises, cartoon characters, and other companies to offer special lottery games. A recent New Jersey lottery scratch-off game featured a Harley-Davidson motorcycle as its top prize. Several of these merchandising deals benefit both parties through product exposure and advertising. It is also possible to buy lottery tickets using only pocket change.

As a wise choice, lottery players should consider consulting a financial advisor before they purchase tickets. A financial advisor can help them make the most of their windfall. An attorney can set up a blind trust that can protect them from financial disadvantages. For example, someone who spends $150 a year on lottery tickets can invest the money in a high-earning investment with an 8% annual return, making it worth over forty years.

Statistics indicate that lottery sales are growing in the United States. In FY 2006, Americans wagered over $44 billion in state lotteries. This was an increase of 6.6% over the previous year.

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