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The history of lotteries is complicated and reflects changing social attitudes toward gambling. Early on, lotteries were viewed by the founding fathers as a reasonable alternative to taxes and war funding. But by the 1800s, lotteries had become tangled up with slavery, in sometimes unpredictable ways. For example, Denmark Vesey won a lottery in Charleston, SC, and used the prize money to buy his freedom. (He later helped foment a slave rebellion.) Eventually, religious and moral sensibilities began to turn against gambling of all forms and by the 1900s most state lotteries had been abolished.

Today, New York has its own lottery. The New York Lottery was launched in 1967 and has raised billions for education. But the game has not been without controversy, including allegations that it is a regressive tax: low-income Americans spend far more of their budgets on instant scratch-off tickets than they do on big jackpot games.

While there are still concerns about the lottery’s effects on society, many people continue to play it because of its fun and convenience. Whether you’re playing to get rich or simply for the chance of winning, you can track your results and find retailers on our website. Just be sure to play responsibly and within your means.