The Story of the Lottery

Lottery is a game where players pay money to purchase tickets and are given a chance to win prizes, ranging from cash to cars. The prize pool is normally split into a percentage that goes toward organizing the lottery, promoting it and paying administrative costs, plus a percentage of the total pool that is awarded to the winners. Many lotteries also offer scratch-off games with prizes ranging from brand-name merchandise to expensive vacations. The most common retailers of lottery tickets are convenience stores, but they are also found in other retail outlets such as gas stations, restaurants and bars, bowling alleys, service stations, and newsstands.

A common argument in favor of lottery is that it raises tax revenues without enraging anti-tax voters, and that the revenue raised through the games is not much different from that spent on a range of other government services. But that line of reasoning does not stand up to scrutiny, and it is not a good reason for people to spend money on lottery tickets.

The story The Lottery shows us that the most important problem with lottery is not its reliance on chance, but its blind following of outdated traditions. Despite the fact that most villagers don’t even remember why they hold a lottery, they continue to do it, and we must take this as a warning about the dangers of following authority without question. The mass incarceration of African Americans, profiling and hate crimes against Muslims after 9/11, and the treatment of immigrants in the United States are modern examples of this type of unquestioning following of authority.