What is an Official Lottery?

An official lottery is a scheme of distribution of prizes by lot or chance, typically involving a government agency or a private corporation licensed to operate in a particular jurisdiction. It is usually operated by a duly authorized representative and has specific rules and regulations to ensure fairness to players.


The first known lottery games were held in the Low Countries during the fifteenth century and were used to raise money for poor people and public projects. These games became popular and grew to become a form of taxation in many states around the world.

Profits from lottery games are used to fund state programs such as pension funds, schools, and education. They also help to support telecommunications infrastructure and promote public health and safety.

The history of lottery funding is long and diverse. Some historians believe that lottery game history dates back to Ancient China and the Roman Empire. In the United States, the first lottery was held in Virginia in 1616. Today, there are thousands of lotteries around the world and the games are regulated by government agencies.