The Darker Side of the Lottery


There’s no doubt that lotteries are a popular way for governments to raise revenue. But how big is the impact, and is it worth the trade-offs? And how does the lottery impact people’s lives, particularly those who are less fortunate?

The first known European lotteries involved tickets for a prize of cash or goods. They are dated to the late 15th century and can be found in town records from Ghent, Bruges, and Utrecht. They were organized to raise money for towns, including to build walls and town fortifications.

But there is a darker side to the lottery that often gets overlooked. People who play the lottery are typically covetous of money and things that money can buy. They believe that their problems will be solved if they can just hit the jackpot and get the numbers right. This is a lie that Scripture condemns: “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house, his wife, his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that is his” (Exodus 20:17; see also Ecclesiastes 5:10).

There are ways to increase your odds of winning the lottery, including buying more tickets or selecting Quick Picks instead of significant dates. However, there is no surefire strategy that will improve your chances of winning. Regardless of your chosen strategy, it’s important to keep track of the results of each drawing and compare them with your ticket to see how you did. You should also check the website of the lottery to find out when prizes have been claimed and how long each game has been running.