Yes, there is such a lottery, which has been in existence for many years. It’s called the Diversity Lottery or the Green Card Lottery.
You want a cite? Well, I entered it about 5 years ago (while already in the US on a temporary employment visa), and won it. As a result, my wife and I have had green cards (i.e., have been permanent residents of the US) for 3 years now.
Do I think it’s fair? No, but since it was available, and since it was an easier way to get a green card than getting one on employment grounds, I acted on the advice of my employer’s Legal Department (who would have had to organise a green card for me otherwise), and entered.