The Importance of Lottery Funding


Lotteries are used to fund public-works projects, colleges, and sports franchises. Some states have been running lottery games for over a hundred years. In 1890, Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Kansas, Montana, Oregon, and South Dakota started holding lotteries. Today, New Mexico and Texas also operate lotteries.

Lotteries raise money for public-works projects

A public works lottery would generate money to build local infrastructure and help spur economic growth in the area. This would help limit the need to rely on other sources of public funding, such as taxing property owners. In addition, it would limit the use of state bond bills, which often hide taxes on future generations and create top-down projects that benefit only special interests.


New America, a progressive think tank, proposed a system in which admission to elite colleges is based on lottery numbers. This proposal would shock the privileged subset of American society, who place great importance on finding their dream schools and shaping their children to become ideal students. However, not everyone is on board with the idea. Opponents, including the American Enterprise Institute, argue that this system would lower the prestige of elite colleges and would change how hiring is done in the corporate world.


Selective Service is a lottery system that divides young men into drafted and undrafted categories. During the Vietnam War, this system was used to determine who would serve and who would not. The process is still in place today. Students read a description of this system and discuss the system’s effects on the Vietnam War. Students then view an oral history of a Vietnam War veteran to learn how the draft affected his or her perspective on the war.

Sports franchises

The lottery offers a unique opportunity for sports teams to expand their brand beyond their own state. As of 2017, 53% of Americans purchased a lottery ticket. Similarly, 13% of people learned about the lottery through a sports-team promotion. The emergence of this new sponsorship category is great news for sports teams.

Public-works projects

Lottery public-works projects are important for a variety of reasons. They provide a steady stream of revenue for public-works projects, and they can also provide opportunities for lower-income communities. The Millennium Commission and the lottery have a long history of supporting public-works projects, including the Millennium Bridge in London and the Eden Project in Cornwall. Many of these public-works projects have exceeded their original visitor estimates, and many benefit lower-income communities.


A school lottery is a natural experiment that happens when a random process randomly assigns students to different schools. This is a good way to test whether the model of a school has an effect on students’ future outcomes. Most often, this occurs in centrally-managed admissions processes.

Amusement parks

The amusement park and arcade market is a growing industry. The market has been segmented by type, revenue source, and geography.

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