The Modern Era of the Official Lottery

The New York Lottery has generated more than 34 billion dollars in revenue to support and aid education. In the past, the lottery’s revenue has also helped with the building and repair of canals, roads and ferries. Additionally, the New York Lottery has provided funds to support and promote the manufacturing industries of New York. All winning payouts and results are based on official drawings conducted under the supervision of an independent accounting firm and reported to the state. You may find the latest winners, jackpots and prizes on the official lottery website.

But the modern era of the official lottery really began in the nineteen-sixties, when, Cohen writes, state budgets were being stretched thin by a growing population and rising inflation. For politicians with an aversion to raising taxes and an unwillingness to cut services, lotteries seemed like budgetary miracles that could allow them to maintain existing programs without being punished at the polls.

The modern era of the official lottery also coincided with a rise in moral sensibilities. The same sentiments that led to prohibition were starting to turn against gambling in general, Cohen writes. Those moral sensitivities were strengthened by widespread concern about corruption, which often accompanied lotteries in the early years of American history. Lotteries were able to raise money for projects that ranged from a battery of guns for the city of Philadelphia to the rebuilding of Faneuil Hall in Boston. They were used to fund Harvard, Yale and Princeton, and even the Continental Congress attempted to use a lottery to finance the Revolutionary War.