An official lottery is a game of chance that is run by the government. Its revenue is used to finance projects such as education and infrastructure.

The first lotteries in Europe appeared in the 15th century and were used to raise money for town fortifications or to aid the poor. They became common in the American colonies despite strong Protestant proscriptions against gambling.

A lottery can be a game of chance or a game of skill. The prize can be a fixed amount of cash or goods. Or it can be a percentage of the total receipts.

State-run lotteries are popular in some countries, especially those with high poverty rates. They also provide a source of tax revenue and help promote social cohesion.

The lottery has a dark side, however. It is an addiction for some people and can prey on vulnerable groups like the poor.

When the economy is bad, a lot of people see the lottery as a way to get ahead. But a lot of poor people don’t have the same chances of winning as wealthier people.

There is an official New York lottery that began in 1967 and has raised billions of dollars for education. It is operated by the New York State Gaming Commission.

The New York lottery offers a range of scratch-off and draw games, as well as daily draw games such as Numbers and Win 4. It also has an online players club that rewards regular ticket buyers by allowing them to earn “Second Chance Drawings” for bonus payouts.