The lottery was first introduced in New York in 1967. The first year’s draw brought in $53.6 million, enticing residents from neighboring states to buy tickets. Within a decade, twelve other states had their own lotteries. By the 1980s, the lottery was firmly entrenched throughout the Northeast. Initially conceived as a way to generate money for public projects, the lottery quickly grew to become a nationwide phenomenon. Its popularity was partly due to a desperate need for public funds, and partly to the fact that the population was predominantly Catholic, which was generally tolerant of gambling activities.