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New York State Lottery – Your Chance of a Lifetime to Help Education

The New York Lottery was established in 1967 with its first and foremost slogan, ‘Your Chance of a Lifetime to Help Education’. Since its inception it has generated more than 34 billion dollars in revenue to aid in the development of the state’s educational institutions. It is an autonomous unit that works in collaboration with the Department of Taxation and Finance to run its operations.

According to Jonathan Cohen, author of For a Dollar and a Dream: State Lotteries in Modern America, the lottery represents “a mechanism of the American dream.” For some people who face discrimination in the traditional economy, he says, playing the lottery is an opportunity to get ahead and maybe even break into the upper middle class.

He argues that the lottery’s heyday began in the nineteen sixties as America’s prosperity declined, and state governments had to choose between raising taxes or cutting services—a choice that would have been highly unpopular with voters. The lottery offered politicians an alternative solution to either option: They could bribe voters with huge jackpots and make money appear out of thin air.

The winnings of a lottery are determined by the amount of the prize pool and how it’s distributed. Some states use a percentage of lottery proceeds for education, while others put it toward public services or other initiatives. The remainder is used to cover lottery operating costs and the commission paid to retailers. Winners can either take a lump sum payment or opt to receive the entire prize over 29 annual payments. The latter option is referred to as the annuity option.