The Official Lottery App

Whether you play online or in-person, the Official Pennsylvania Lottery is your connection to fun, convenience and winning. Get the PA Lottery mobile app to check your results, purchase tickets, enter Second-Chance drawings, and more. Download now!

Despite being an extremely profitable enterprise, few state governments have articulated a coherent “lottery policy.” Instead, the evolution of lottery programs has often sped along, guided by the needs of specific constituencies. These include convenience store owners (lottery profits are a major source of income); lottery suppliers (heavy contributions by these companies to state political campaigns are frequently reported); teachers (in states where lottery revenues are earmarked for education); and legislators, who may become accustomed to the revenue streams generated by lotteries and find it difficult to oppose them.

Defenders of state-run lotteries argue that it is a matter of principle to allow citizens the opportunity to gamble for the chance of winning big prizes. But critics point to studies showing that the advertising for state-run lotteries promotes gambling behavior, that the proceeds are a regressive tax on low-income groups and that they encourage addictive habits. They also contend that the desire of lottery officials to increase revenue is at cross-purposes with their duty to protect the public welfare.

The casting of lots for making decisions and determining fates has a long record in human history, including several instances in the Bible. But the lottery as a form of raising funds and providing charity dates to the early fifteenth century in the Low Countries, when local towns used it to build town fortifications and help the poor.