How the Lottery Funds Public Education


Lottery is a game in which people play for a chance to win a prize by drawing lots. It can be considered an addictive form of gambling, but sometimes it’s used to raise money for good causes. The first recorded lotteries date back to the 15th century in the Low Countries, where they were often used for town fortifications and other public works projects. During the colonial period, George Washington’s lottery helped fund his Revolutionary War and Benjamin Franklin was an advocate for public lotteries to support colleges and public-works projects.

People spend billions on lottery tickets each year. Some of them hope to get rich quickly while others think that the lottery is their only way out of poverty. But the odds of winning are astronomical, and the money spent on tickets could be better spent on building an emergency fund or paying off credit card debt.

This article is brought to you by Brian Martucci, a Money Crashers writer who investigates time- and money-saving strategies for his readers. He is also a personal finance blogger at the site Saving & Investing, where he writes about investing, credit cards, retirement, and other financial topics.

The State Controller’s Office determines how Lottery funds are dispersed to public education institutions based on Average Daily Attendance (ADA) for K-12 schools and full-time enrollment at community college and higher educational specialized schools. To learn more about how each county is allocated its share of Lottery funds, click or tap a county on the map or type the name into the search box to view quarterly PDF reports.