A game of chance in which tokens are drawn for a prize. The winners are secretly predetermined or ultimately selected in a random drawing. A lottery may also refer to:

The drawing of lots to determine property ownership or other rights is recorded in ancient documents and is common today in some cultures. It is the basis for a number of modern sports games, including football and horse racing. It is sometimes used to determine a winner in political elections. It is also a common way for states to raise money for public projects, as it allows the public to pay a small amount for a large chance of winning a substantial sum.

Cohen traces the origins of the modern state-run lottery and its rapid expansion in the nineteen-sixties, when America’s postwar prosperity began to crumble under inflation and the cost of the Vietnam War. Many states, especially those that provided generous social safety nets, were finding it difficult to balance budgets without raising taxes or cutting services, which would be resoundingly unpopular with voters. For these politicians, the lottery looked like a “budgetary miracle,” a way to bring in massive amounts of revenue seemingly out of nowhere and thus free them from ever having to contemplate tax increases.

Lottery players are often lured by the promise that they will win a big prize and solve all their problems, but such hopes are statistically futile and violate God’s command to not covet (see Proverbs 23:10). Instead, God wants us to earn wealth honestly through hard work: “Lazy hands make for poverty” (Proverbs 10:4).