Category Archives: Lotteries: Who Really Plays

Massachusetts Lottery

Once again Massachusetts tops the lottery sales charts with sales over $5 billion last year. The individual sales average was $740 per capita, with 50 communities (lower incomes) topping $1000 per capita. A total of $3.6 billion was paid out …

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In MD, the lower the income, the more likely you are to play the Lottery

This article from the Maryland Reporter details why the lower-income communities in Maryland play the Lottery disproportionately. For example, Park Heights, one of Maryland’s poorest neighborhoods with a median income of $35,000, gave the most money to the Lottery in the entire state- …

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The Lottery tax journey

Below is a chart that shows how your wages are taxed and hit with fees when you buy a Lottery ticket. It turns out “Lucky Joe” isn’t so lucky after all- over $10 of his original $13.82 is taken out …

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Winners and losers feel the sad reality of the Lottery

With Lottery jackpots reaching unthinkable highs recently, more and more players are buying tickets to try their shot at, sometimes, upwards of $1 billion. Unfortunately, the historic problems with the Lottery continue to worsen. More and more, it is the …

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MA lottery takes from poor to give to rich

The Massachusetts lottery is, what the author of this Boston Globe article calls, “a Robin Hood in reverse”. Like most lotteries, it generates the most profit from poorer communities, filled with impoverished people who feel the only way to get …

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Poorer MA communities receive disproportionately low aid from lottery

20% of all Massachusetts lottery revenue goes to the state’s Unrestricted General Government Aid program, which then uses its own systems to determine which communities need the most help and doles out aid accordingly. The only problem is that the …

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The link between poverty and lottery sales is undeniable, according to article

This article by The Hartford Courant, written in response to a taxpayer-funded study that concluded no link between poverty and lottery sales, presents the findings of several other studies that have time and again found an irrefutable link between poverty …

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Much of lottery revenue comes from those already receiving government subsidies

This in-depth report from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis studied the relationship between income and lottery revenue and found that a large portion of lottery profits come from people who receive some financial subsidy from the government, suggesting …

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Series delves into business practices of OR lottery

This must-read series from OregonLive details the business practices of the lottery in Oregon and reveals quite a bit about the Lottery- a public policy and a program created and supported by the government. In the first installment, the author explores the …

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IL lottery gains overwhelming majority of revenue from poorer areas

This article by The Chicago Tribune outlines the problems encountered by the Illinois lottery. The lottery in Illinois has encountered sluggish sales and failed to bring in necessary revenue. Furthermore, poorer neighborhoods are bringing in the stark majority of sales, showing that the most …

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Article outlines 18 signs that the lottery is preying on the poor

This article from Business Insider shows 18 ways in which the lotteries prey on and take advantage of America’s poor.  By examining several cases from several different states, one can see how badly this nationwide trend affects the nation’s most …

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The $50 Ticket: A Lottery Boon Raises Concern

This New York Times story spotlights how state lotteries are luring citizens to lose more money at a faster clip by offering higher priced scratch-off tickets. Once only a $1, now states like Texas are selling $50 scratch tickets. 2007 …

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80% of Lottery Profits Come From 10% of the Players

According the New York Times: “States are also trying to bolster the number of ‘core’ players, according to interviews with lottery officials in several states. Such players typically represent only 10 percent to 15 percent of all players but account …

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Lotteries Generate More Revenue Than Corporate Income Taxes in Some States

In this Reuters opinion piece, David Cay Johnston examines the shift in 11 states that shows, lotteries, the most heavily taxed consumer product in America, generate more revenue than state corporate income taxes. For example, the Rhode Island Lottery netted …

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The Reverse Robin Hood Effect

Using data acquired from the Florida Lottery Commission, Florida scholars assessed what groups were benefiting from the lottery-funded Florida Bright Futures Scholarships and who were being harmed. Not surprisingly, the study reported that the “net benefits of the scholarships accrue …

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Who Pays for the Lottery?

In 2007, the California Budget Project reported on the possible privatization of the state lottery. It reported that the poor, non-white, urban and less educated spend a higher portion of their income on the lottery than other demographics. Our government …

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Poor People Spend 9% of Income on Lottery Tickets

This blog post from WalletPop.com outlines the reasons why people on low-incomes spend so much on lottery tickets: the hype about big jackpots, the ritual of playing and the fact that many people believe that playing the lottery is best …

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Myopic Risk-Seeking: The Impact of Narrow Decision Bracketing on Lottery Play

This 2008 study from the Journal of Risk and Uncertainty highlights the fact that the lottery appeals to people earning lower incomes and that these individuals spend a disproportionate amount of money on the lottery when compared to people with …

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Lotteries Hurt the Economic Security and Well-Being of the State’s Families

In its recent report, Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families concludes that a lottery hurts the economic security and well-being of the state’s’ families – regardless of how much money it raised. The report lays out the following reasons: 1) …

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Why Poor People Play the Lottery Even More When Times Are Tough

Yale University’s Emily Haisley analyzed why poor people play the lottery even more when times are tough. Read this New York Times story about her report. Citation: Carnegie Mellon University (2008, July 24). Why Play A Losing Game? Study Uncovers Why …

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South Carolina Study Shows Households Earning Under $40K Make Up 54% of the Lottery’s Frequent Players

A recent review of demographic studies commissioned by the South Carolina Education Lottery showed: African-Americans made up 19% of the state’s adult population but accounted for almost 39% of frequent players; people in households earning under $40,000 accounted for 28% …

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Hope and Hard Luck: Poorest Counties Lead State in Per Capita Lottery Sales

This first-rate 2010 report by Sarah Ovaska of North Carolina Policy Watch details how the most impoverished counties in North Carolina spend the most money on the state lottery. The report below also includes a link to a county-by-county map …

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Survey: 21% Say Lottery is Most Practical Path to Wealth

According to the survey of 1,000 Americans by Opinion Research Corporation for the Consumer Federation of America and the Financial Planning Association, 21% of Americans believed that the lottery would be their most effective and practical strategy for accumulating several hundred …

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Study finds strong link between lottery sales and poverty

This detailed study by Cornell University shows that state lotteries get a disproportional amount of sales from the poor and disadvantaged and examines the reasons behind why those who have the least spend the most on the lottery. While it …

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For more information about the role predatory gambling plays in America’s debt culture and pushing citizens into poverty, please also visit our Debt Culture and Poverty section.