Lottery is a method of raising money, usually for public charitable purposes, by selling tickets with numbers on them and holding a drawing for prizes. The first recorded lotteries in Europe were probably held in the 15th century, with towns attempting to raise funds to fortify their walls and help the poor. The name of this activity is thought to be derived from the Latin verb lottere, meaning “to draw lots,” or possibly from Middle Dutch loten, “a lottery.”

Lotteries are widely used in countries with large social safety nets and relatively high levels of taxation. They allow governments to expand their services without having to increase taxes on working and middle class citizens.

In the United States, the majority of lottery proceeds go to education. The state controller’s office determines how much money is awarded to each county based on Average Daily Attendance (ADA) for K-12 schools and full-time enrollment for community college school districts, and the total amount of winnings that have been paid out to date. The figure below shows how much Lottery funds have been allocated to education for each county in the state of California.

Those who play the lottery often believe that their lives will be greatly improved if they can just win the jackpot. However, God’s Word forbids covetousness: “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house, or his wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that is his.”