The official lottery offers fun, convenience and information to players on the go. Download the free app and play the latest online games and scratch-off tickets, enter Second Chance drawings and view daily winning numbers. Plus find retailers nearby.

State lotteries are a form of gambling that raises money for public purposes in exchange for a small sum of money or goods. The prize money often is a cash jackpot, and the cost of tickets is typically less than what is paid out in prizes. The result is a profit for the sponsoring government. Lotteries are very popular, with more than half the states offering them.

Lottery supporters promote them as a painless alternative to higher taxes. But opponents criticize them as dishonest, unseemly, and a form of social control.

[Narrator] In the fourteenth century, Dutch towns used lotteries to build town fortifications, and Elizabeth I chartered the first nationwide lottery in England in 1567, using proceeds to fund war reparations and support charity for the poor. Since then, governments across the globe have used lotteries to bolster public services, and people have played them for everything from town tithes to school construction.

In the United States, lotteries began in the 1740s when Benjamin Franklin held a lottery to raise funds for the Continental Congress’s struggle against France, and private lotteries raised money for universities, including Harvard, Dartmouth, Yale, King’s College (now Columbia), and William and Mary. John Hancock ran a lottery to build Boston’s Faneuil Hall, and George Washington ran a lottery to raise money for a road over Virginia’s mountain pass.