Is the California Lottery Legal?


A lottery is a gambling game wherein participants pay for a chance to win a prize – often a large sum of money. It is also a common method of raising funds, especially for public purposes. Many governments, and some private companies, organize lotteries. Whether or not a lottery is an acceptable form of gambling depends on the level of entertainment value that participants receive, as well as the chances of winning.

People have been using lotteries to allocate property, goods and services since ancient times. In ancient Israel, for example, land was awarded by lot to the tribes and in Roman times, slaves were given away via lot as a form of entertainment at Saturnalia feasts. The first lottery games in the modern sense of the word appeared in the Low Countries in the 15th century, with towns using it to raise funds for town fortifications and to help the poor. The term is probably derived from the Dutch noun lot, meaning “fate” or “chance.”

Lottery plays on human desire to dream big and on our basic misunderstanding of probabilities. As a result, people are irrationally attracted to the idea that they can become wealthy by spending only a small amount of money. This makes it a popular way for people to spend money, even though the chances of winning are very low.

In addition to the monetary rewards of winning, some people claim that participating in the lottery provides other benefits, such as entertainment value and social status. These other benefits can outweigh the disutility of a monetary loss and make it rational for individuals to participate in the lottery. Lotteries are often criticised for contributing to addictive gambling habits, but they are also used to fund a wide variety of public uses, from kindergarten placements to units in subsidized housing blocks.

The State Controller’s Office determines how much Lottery funds are distributed to each county based on average daily attendance for K-12 school districts and full-time enrollment for higher education. To view the amounts allocated for each county, click or tap on a county on the map below, or enter the name of a county in the search box below.

The State Controller’s Office releases quarterly PDF reports that detail the amount of money distributed to each county for K-12 and higher education by the California Lottery. To download the latest report, please click or tap on a county on the image below or enter the name of a county in our search box. If you would like to view all of the reports, please click or tap here. The reports are available in English, Spanish and Vietnamese. The files are also available in Microsoft Excel format for easy editing. If you have any questions about these reports, please contact us. If you’d like to receive future editions of the California Lottery Report in your email inbox, sign up for our newsletter below. You may unsubscribe at any time.

Posted in: Gambling