The official lottery is a big business, with people in the US spending upwards of $100 billion on it every year. Whether this is a good thing for society or not, it has become a major component of the American culture. States promote it as a way to generate revenue, but that may be debatable. In the immediate post-World War II period, lotteries allowed states to expand their array of social services without imposing especially onerous taxes on middle class and working class citizens. But by the 1960s, that arrangement began to unravel.

It was during this time that lottery players started to become more accustomed to a high level of probability of winning a prize. This, along with a growing belief that the world was becoming more meritocratic, led to the proliferation of lotteries.

Today, state-run lotteries operate nationwide. They offer a variety of games including keno, fast-play tickets, and video lottery terminals. They also conduct regular drawing sessions to award prizes. The first modern government-run lottery was established in Puerto Rico in 1934, and the New Hampshire Lottery launched in 1964.

The lottery industry is regulated by state laws and is supported by the National Association of State Lotteries. The Association acts as a network for state-level lottery programs and helps them to share best practices and educational resources. The Association also acts as a lobbying body, advocating on behalf of its member states and territories. It is estimated that more than half of all state-run lotteries are members of the Association.