Lottery Factors

Lottery is an activity in which people buy lottery tickets and then hope to win prizes.

In most states, the profits from these games are used to raise money for various causes. Some governments have a monopoly on the running of state-run lotteries, but in most other cases private companies or nonprofit groups license the lottery and earn a percentage of the revenues.

Several factors determine whether or not a state should establish a lottery. These include public approval and participation; a positive perception of the proceeds’ use for a specific public good; and a reasonable expectation that the revenues will help offset any potential budgetary shortfalls.

Public Approval

The public generally approves of state lotteries, although there is a small gap between the level of approval and the actual number of ticket holders. In some states, lotteries have become a major part of the economy.


In most states with lottery, 60% of adults report playing at least once a year. This number has been growing, and in some states it has surpassed that of other consumer products.


After a lottery is established, revenues generally increase rapidly, and then level off or decline. This is due to the fact that many people get bored with the same old numbers, and new games are needed to keep revenues up.


Most state lotteries compensate retailers for their sales by a commission on each ticket sold. Some also pay a bonus to retailers who meet particular criteria for increasing ticket sales.