The official lottery is a type of gambling wherein a prize, usually money or goods, is distributed among many people by chance. It is also known as a raffle or a drawing of numbers. It can be conducted by the government, private individuals or a combination of both. The lottery is often regarded as a way of raising funds for public works and charities, although it is also seen as a form of taxation. It has been used since ancient times as a means to raise money, and it was even included in the Continental Congress’ plan to fund the Revolutionary War. Privately organized lotteries were common in the United States, and were once the main method of collecting “voluntary taxes.” Public lotteries raised tens of millions of dollars for various purposes, including building colleges, such as Harvard, Dartmouth, Yale, King’s College (now Columbia), and William and Mary.
The New York Lottery began in 1967 with the slogan, “Your Chance of a Lifetime to Help Education.” Since its launch, more than 34 billion dollars has been generated in lottery revenues and used for public K-12 education.
New York State Senator Joe Addabbo has reintroduced a bill to allow lottery winners to remain anonymous, citing stories of constituents who have been harassed by financial planners and other solicitors following their winnings. He said the bill would maximize public safety and allow lottery winners to choose how they celebrate their victories. Several other states allow lottery winners to remain anonymous, and Addabbo is confident his proposal will gain bipartisan support in the legislature.