Lottery is a game in which a prize, such as cash or goods, is randomly awarded to people who buy tickets. It is often regulated to ensure fairness and legality. In the United States, for example, state governments conduct lotteries to raise money for education and other public causes. People have been using lotteries since ancient times. For example, Moses was instructed by the Lord to divide land among the Israelites by lot (Numbers 26:55-56) and Roman emperors gave away slaves and other property by lottery during Saturnalian feasts. In the modern sense, a lottery is a government-sponsored drawing for a prize, usually cash. In some cases, the prize may be a fixed percentage of the ticket sales (e.g., 50 percent).
The word is derived from Old English hlot “what falls to one’s share by lot,” and from Proto-Germanic *klutom. It is related to Dutch lop, and German los, both meaning “share,” and also to Latin lutus (“a share”). The word was brought to France in the 16th century by King Francis I; it later gained popularity in England and America.
Lottery winners can choose to receive their prize in a lump sum or in installments over time (annuity). If they opt for the former, their prize will be lower because of the time value of money. The winners are usually required to pay income taxes on their winnings, which can take a big chunk out of the prize. The following examples have been programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word ‘lottery.’