a scheme for the distribution of prizes, esp. a gaming scheme in which one or more tickets bearing particular numbers draw prizes and the rest are blanks. [OED]

Lottery supporters argue that it is not only a matter of human nature but also an inextricable part of our democratic system of government that citizens should be able to gamble on the possibility of a windfall, and that this form of gambling enables state governments to raise funds without raising taxes or cutting public spending, even in an era of antitax sentiment and budget constraints. But lottery critics question whether it is right for the state to promote a gambling industry, even one that has the objective, if limited, function of generating revenue for public purposes. They point to the problem of compulsive gamblers and to the regressive effect on lower-income communities, among other criticisms. In addition, lottery advertisements tend to promote the illusion of instant riches, a glamorization that can have negative consequences for young people who grow up thinking they can win big and not bother to build savings and emergency funds. In a world where many Americans are struggling to make ends meet, this is not the kind of message the government should be sending. God wants us to earn our wealth by hard work: “Lazy hands will not make much money” (Proverbs 23:5). The haphazard pursuit of riches in the lottery is a misdirected use of time and resources.