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Feeling pretty lucky on this gorgeous day? Playing the lottery is one way that many people enjoy spending their time and taking a chance on winning a big jackpot. National Lottery Day is here to encourage folks to test their luck and celebrate the day with special promotions and deals that many states offer in honor of this day! 

History of National Lottery Day

The historical roots of this day can be traced back to the days when lotteries began in Europe all the way back in the 1500s when Italy was raising money for public works. England and other countries followed suit with this method for getting funding they needed for various projects.

But while some lotteries were even used to raise funds for building cannons during the Revolutionary War, the existence of official government-sanctioned lotteries in the US is much newer. In fact, the first government-run lottery in the nation started in 1934 in Puerto Rico, and the use of official government lotteries didn’t make it to the continental US until 1964 when the state of New Hampshire started their New Hampshire Sweepstakes.

Access to lottery tickets may change from state to state in the US, but most of them run some sort of lottery. In fact, 48 different jurisdictions in the nation run some sort of lottery, including 45 states as well as the District of Columbia, US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. In addition, there are two near-national lotteries in the country which include Powerball and Mega Millions. The only places that don’t have a state lottery are Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii, Nevada and Utah.

After the jackpot is given away to the winners, each state or jurisdiction uses the money they make from putting on a lottery (about 40%) to accomplish various things. From providing schools with educational resources to boosting public transportation, from conservation trust funds to health and social services, the recipients of lottery profits vary widely from state to state.

National Lottery Day is a fairly new observance that was established in 2018 by the folks over at the Massachusetts State Lottery. The idea for the day was to provide the lottery participants in their state with special deals and promotions, particularly to get people involved with the lottery who had never played before.

How to Celebrate National Lottery Day

Observing National Lottery Day offers a variety of options for celebrating and getting involved with the day. Grab some friends to join in on the fun and check out some of these ideas for celebrating the day:

Buy a Lottery Ticket

Of course, the most encouraged activity to be considered on National Lottery Day might be to purchase a lottery ticket with the hopes of winning. Depending on the location, this might mean purchasing a daily scratch off ticket that has a fairly low cost, usually ranging from $1 up to $30 with the chances of winning just a few dollars or larger prizes from $500 or even $5000. Some scratch off lottery tickets are modeled after certain games like Monopoly, crossword puzzles and more.

For larger prizes and huge jackpots, the cost of the ticket may be as low as $1-2 for the Mega Millions jackpot or $2-4 for each chance at Powerball. And while the jackpots are enormous – sometimes in the billions of dollars – it is certainly important to remember that the odds of winning are obviously extremely slim. Certainly though, there is an entertainment value to buying lottery tickets that can make this a fun activity for some people.

Join a Lottery Pool

Sometimes, when the jackpots are getting really big, people like to get together and share the cost of lottery tickets with the hope of also sharing in the winnings. A lottery pool can be organized by friends, family members, coworkers, neighbors and more. This can also be attached to a National Lottery Day party where the participants of the lottery pool are joined together in someone’s home or a restaurant to watch the results of the winnings – so everyone is together to celebrate if they actually win!

Make a Financial Investment

Americans spend $70 billion each year on lottery tickets, which breaks down to about $230 per person (including children) or more than $4 per week. And for those who win the lottery, this could turn out to be a good way to spend their money on National Lottery Day!

But for those who don’t play the lottery, or who are looking for an investment in the longer term, many banks and financial advisors suggest that putting that $230 per person into an investment account could bring some excellent results. For instance, investing in stocks or ETFs (Exchange-traded Funds) might be a super way to spend that $4 per week and get a good return. Or those people who play the lottery and also have high-interest loans or credit card debt will find that paying those down is a great help.

Some people enjoy playing the lottery because some of the funds go to a good cause, but other people might choose to celebrate National Lottery Day by making a donation to their favorite charity to help someone in their community!

Gamble Responsibly

One of the most important things to remember in light of National Lottery Day is that playing the lottery is a gamble. This means that it’s not a good idea for people to spend money on lottery tickets that they can’t afford to lose, with the hopes that they will win it back. Even though the lottery is sanctioned by many governments or agencies, and can even be considered to be for a good cause, it is still a form of gambling and should be treated as such.

Those who struggle with poverty from gambling, are losing time from work or school because of gambling, or have found that gambling has made their home life unhappy may get help by talking to someone from Gamblers Anonymous

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