What is a Lottery?
A lottery is a form of gambling in which numbers are drawn to determine a winner. There are many forms of lotteries, from instant-win scratch-off games to daily pick three or four number games. In the US, the National Lottery is a popular choice for people to play. It is estimated that there are about a billion tickets sold each year. The prizes vary from state to state, but often include cash and sports team draft picks.
The history of the lottery in America began with early English colonists, who used it to finance their settlements and private charities. It became a common practice in the fourteen-hundreds, and was one of the few ways that a state could raise money without raising taxes or cutting services.
Although rich people do buy lottery tickets, they tend to play fewer of them than the poor, and spend a smaller percentage of their income on them. According to the consumer financial company Bankrate, players who earn more than fifty thousand dollars a year spend an average of one per cent of their income on tickets; those who make less than thirty thousand dollars spend thirteen per cent.
Shirley Jackson’s 1948 short story The Lottery, set in a small American town, shows how cruel people can be to each other. Its events show that human evil exists in a variety of forms, from stoning the winner of the town’s annual lottery to making someone else suffer a disease because it will benefit you. The people in the story do these awful things with casual conversation and without a trace of remorse.