The Official Lottery

The official lottery is responsible for administering, regulating, enforcing, and promoting the North Dakota Lottery. The Lottery encourages players to Play Responsibly. If gambling becomes no longer fun, please seek help by contacting 2-1-1 or GamblerND in the state of North Dakota or Gamblers Anonymous.

Lottery commissions have long understood that they operate in a highly competitive market. They do their best to keep players hooked, using everything from slick marketing campaigns to the math and psychology of tickets that are designed to maximize winners and make them buy more. It’s not exactly a new strategy; tobacco companies and video-game manufacturers have been employing it for years. But it’s a strategy that is not normally employed under the auspices of the state.

Historically, states and other entities have conducted lotteries to raise revenue for a wide range of purposes, from education to public works to war bonds. Early America was a nation defined politically by an aversion to taxation, and the lottery offered politicians a way to bolster budgets without having to address the difficult issue of taxes.

But as the lottery became increasingly popular, its advocates began to change the narrative. Instead of arguing that the proceeds would float a state’s entire budget, they now claimed that it would finance a specific line item, typically one that was popular and nonpartisan–education, but sometimes elder care or even aid for veterans. These changes, writes Adam Cohen, were a political necessity: Lottery supporters could no longer argue that people were going to gamble anyway and that governments should just pocket the profits.