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The Lottery and Its Critics

The short story The Lottery by Shirley Jackson depicts a family’s participation in a local lottery ritual that ends in the death of one of its members. The story illustrates the evil nature of humankind and how people mistreat each other for no apparent reason other than their conformity to a certain culture.

Lotteries, like all government-sponsored games of chance, have long been a source of controversy and debate. The basic structure of a modern lottery includes a state monopoly, an agency or public corporation to operate the game, and a pool of funds from players to be distributed to winners. A percentage of the pool is used for administration and promotion; and a final portion, often the largest percentage, goes as revenues and profits to the sponsor.

Revenues typically increase dramatically after a lottery is introduced, but eventually level off and decline. This leads to the constant introduction of new games, in an attempt to maintain or increase revenues.

While a lottery may seem like a good thing for a state, where treasury coffers swell, its critics point to the alleged regressive impact on lower-income communities and problems associated with gambling addiction. Vox has a graphic that demonstrates that state lottery revenues tend to be concentrated in richer neighborhoods, with sales disproportionately low in poor ones.

When looking at a lottery ticket, examine each outside number for repetition and mark those that appear only once (the singletons). This will signal the presence of a winning combination 60-90% of the time.