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A lottery is a form of gambling which involves the drawing of lots for a prize.  Lotteries come in many formats.  The prize can be a fixed amount of cash or goods.  In the United States, the existence of lotteries is subject to the laws of each state.  There is no national lottery.  Private lotteries were legal in the United States in the early 1800s.

Many illegal lotteries thrived before the advent of state-sponsored lotteries.  The first modern state lottery in the U.S. was established in the state of New Hampshire in 1964.  Lotteries are established in 42 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.  The first modern interstate lottery in the U.S. was formed in 1985 and linked Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont.

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