This research explores the interaction of motivation and ability to explain individuals' level of participation in state-sponsored lotteries. The motivation–ability framework is considered from the perspective of perceived control wherein Rotter's (1966) locus of control serves as a perceived ability to influence lottery outcomes, and the Burger and Cooper (1979) desire for control serves as a motivation to play. With the use of a sample of adult consumers residing in a state with a government-sponsored lottery, predicted results were found. Specifically, the consumers who played the lottery to the greatest extent were those with internal locus of control (high perceived ability) and high desire for control (high motivation). © 2001 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.