The lottery is an extremely popular form of gambling that contributes billions of dollars annually. Its odds of winning are very low, but people continue to play for the hope that they will be the one who wins big. Some people have been able to win the jackpot and live a life that they never imagined. However, for most, the chances of winning are very slim and the money they spend on tickets is a huge waste of their time.

The story takes place in a bucolic, small-town setting on June 27th of an unspecified year. As the narrator watches, children on summer break and village elders begin to gather in the town square. They are greeted by Mr. Summers, the organizer and master of ceremonies of this year’s lottery ritual. He carries a black box, which the villagers respect for its ancient origins and the sense of tradition conferred by it.

As the people start to sort themselves into their nuclear families, Mr. Summers calls for the first slip to be revealed. A general sigh is let out when little Dave’s paper is found to be blank. Nancy and Bill’s papers also reveal blanks, and mute Tessie’s paper has a black spot on it.

State lotteries are promoted as a way for states to raise revenue without imposing additional taxes on lower- and middle-income citizens. But how much revenue they actually bring in – and what the percentage of the population they are raising that money from is – is debatable.