A lottery is a type of gambling where people buy tickets and have a chance to win a large sum of money. They can be run by state or federal governments.

The first recorded public lotteries in Europe were held by Roman Emperor Augustus, in order to raise funds for municipal repairs. Various forms of lottery are still in use today, including the lottery for donating property, military conscription, commercial promotions, and the selection of jury members.


A scheme for the distribution of prizes by lot or chance, especially a gaming scheme in which one or more tickets bearing particular numbers draw prizes; the other tickets are blanks.

In modern lottery schemes, a pool of tickets is analyzed by computer and the winning numbers are selected through a random process. A prize pool is then apportioned among the winners.

The pool must include a number of tickets of sufficient size to pay the prizes, and it must also contain enough money to cover all costs of promoting and running the lottery. In addition, a percentage of the pool must be used to deduct taxes and other expenses.

A lottery is a popular form of gambling in many cultures, as it allows bettors to win very large amounts. Such super-sized jackpots drive ticket sales, not only for the thrill of winning a big sum, but also for the publicity that can result from their appearance on news sites and television broadcasts.