In the year ending June 30, 2003, the National Association of State Lottery Officials (NASPL) released its sales figures for every state, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. Sales were down in nine states in 2003, led by Delaware. In contrast, sales increased in West Virginia, Puerto Rico, Florida, and Missouri. Although the national sales were down in 2003, the percentages are still relatively high. Here are some of the most important facts about lottery sales:
The lottery has many origins. It has been used to settle legal disputes, assign property rights, and finance major government projects. It has been played since ancient times, but has its roots in a variety of cultures. In the sixteenth century, lottery sales were used to fund government projects, wars, and courthouses. But lottery games have also been used for entertainment and charity. Throughout history, people have used lottery games to win large sums of money.
The game of lottery was not invented until the 15th century. Ancient Chinese games, like the white pigeon game, were played before the word lottery was even invented. These games were a form of military justice. Male citizens over the age of eighteen were allowed to put their names in the lottery, and the winners were then appointed by lot. In addition, the game was used to fund major government projects. It also served as a fun activity.
The cost of operating a lottery is a big question, especially when considering the fact that the amount of money that is spent on advertising and promotion is huge. State law mandates that Lottery expenses cannot exceed 15 percent of gross revenues, and advertising expenses cannot exceed two percent of gross revenues. Gross revenues are the sales of Tickets plus interest, and other revenues, less the amount transferred to the Department of Revenue in lieu of sales tax. In 2003, Pennsylvania Lottery spent $12.3 million on employee wages and benefits.
There are millions of lottery prizes that have gone unclaimed. In fact, there are now over half a billion dollars in unclaimed lottery winnings. Unclaimed lottery prizes are sometimes lost, forgotten, or unused for various reasons. The state of New York is one of the worst culprits for unclaimed lottery prizes. There are 12 million dollar unclaimed tickets in the city alone. State officials are currently looking for their owners before they expire.