Is the Lottery a Gambling Game Or a Public Charity?


a gambling game or method of raising money, as for some public charitable purpose, in which a large number of tickets are sold and a drawing is held for certain prizes. Also, any scheme for the distribution of prizes by chance: They considered combat duty a lottery.

People buy lottery tickets for many reasons, ranging from a pure love of gamble to the belief that they will solve their problems and make things better if they win. But a lot of what people believe about the lottery is wrong. It’s based on the false idea that the world is filled with magic, and that if they can just find the right numbers they will get everything they want. This is a form of covetousness, which God forbids: “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house, his wife, his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to him” (Exodus 20:17).

Whether the lottery is a gambling game or a public charity, it works because there are many people who have a deep and inextricable craving for money. In addition, there are a lot of people who simply like to gamble, and there is the lure of huge jackpots that can change lives. Lottery commissions know this, and they advertise in a way that emphasizes the size of the prize rather than its odds. This coded message reinforces the idea that winning the lottery is just a game, and obscures the fact that it’s a form of greed that can have devastating consequences for some people.