Lottery Retailers

The drawing of lots to determine property rights has a long record in history, including many instances recorded in the Bible. Public lotteries distributing money prizes as tickets have a shorter history, with the first recorded lottery held in the Low Countries in the fifteenth century to raise funds for town fortifications and to help poor people.

Lottery officials make it clear to players that winning is possible. They also provide valuable information about how to play the game and encourage players to seek advice on investing their winnings. However, this advice can sometimes be misleading. For example, one California woman won a jackpot and then hired an attorney to conceal the award from her husband in order to avoid paying taxes on it. However, this tactic backfired, and the woman ended up losing her entire prize because of a divorce.

The NASPL Web site lists nearly 186,000 retailers that sell lottery tickets, including convenience stores, gas stations, supermarkets, service stations, restaurants and bars, bowling alleys, and newsstands. About three-fourths of these retailers offer online services. Retailers earn about 60-90% of the total sales revenue. The majority of these retailers are independently owned and operated, but large chains and franchises also sell tickets. The largest retailers are in California, Texas, and New York. Many state lotteries operate their own distribution channels, and most offer online services. Several states also allow the sale of tickets in private venues, such as restaurants and bars.