Official Lottery Results

Get official lottery results, including jackpots and prize payouts. Message and data rates may apply. You must be 18 or older to play.

Cohen begins his book with an intriguing historical footnote: In early America, when moral sensibilities turned against gambling of any form, numbers games nevertheless became a major source of public money, used to finance everything from Harvard and Yale to Boston’s Faneuil Hall, and even the Continental Congress’ attempt to run a lottery to build a road over a mountain pass.

In the nineteen-sixties, as states grappled with growing populations, inflation and the cost of the Vietnam War, balancing budgets became increasingly difficult without raising taxes or cutting services. For politicians desperate for new revenue, the lottery seemed to be a silver bullet.

Lottery advocates argued that since people were going to gamble anyway, the government might as well take the profits. This argument had its limits, of course—by implication, it would be okay for governments to sell heroin, too—but it gave moral cover to people who approved of state-run gambling.

But the truth is that, whatever the odds of winning, lottery proceeds are regressive. Studies show that low income communities spend a much larger share of their budgets on tickets, and researchers warn that the result is to drive these vulnerable Americans deeper into debt and further away from the wealth they desperately need. To make matters worse, the lottery’s message to low-income gamblers is that a little luck can turn into a fortune.