Lottery is a game where winning depends on chance rather than skill. There are many types of lottery games, but all share a prize fund and an element of consideration to enter (the purchase of tickets). The prizes can be cash or goods, often specified in advance by the organizers. Alternatively, the prize may be a fixed percentage of the total receipts. This allows the organizer to have a guaranteed income, but is more risky for the players.
Some states have state-run lotteries, regulated by the state legislature. These are run by a state lottery director and a lottery board. The state laws specify how the lottery works, including the duration of the contest, the documentation that must be presented to claim a prize, the method for payment, and other details.
Generally, the state-run lotteries depend on a core group of regular players for most of their revenue. These are people who buy one ticket a week, or even less often. These regulars tend to be low-income, less educated, nonwhite, and male. As a result, they are disproportionately represented in the top 20 percent of players. The rest of the money is generated by new modes of play, like Powerball jackpots and credit card sales. Some analysts have argued that state-sponsored lotteries should be limited to avoid the risk of creating an inequitable player base.