The casting of lots has a long history in human societies, and it is often used for material gain. One of the first recorded lotteries in the West was a public one to raise funds for town fortifications and help the poor in 1466 in Bruges, Belgium. The lottery has become very popular in America, and it is a major source of state revenue. Its popularity is driven by the large jackpots and the fact that it is easy to play. The lottery’s player base is disproportionately low-income, less educated, nonwhite, and male. It is also highly addictive. State lottery commissions advertise the games, and they make every effort to keep players hooked. From the look of the tickets to the math behind them, everything is designed to keep people playing. It is not very different from the strategies of nicotine and video-game manufacturers, but it is done under the guise of government.
The lottery is based on the deceitful promise that money can solve all problems, which is contrary to God’s commandment against coveting (Exodus 20:17). It lures people into gambling by promising them things they cannot possess by legitimate means, such as units in a subsidized housing development or kindergarten placements at a good school. This is the same lie that causes people to bet on sports and buy powerball tickets, as well as other forms of gambling. People seem to be easily convinced that their actions are good because the money is going back to the state.