What are the odds? US lottery statistics

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Lottery fever reached new heights in 2023, with jackpots crossing the billion-dollar mark four times to date. The $1.765 billion Powerball prize that went to one extremely lucky ticket holder in October was the second-largest lottery jackpot in U.S. history.

Forty-five states offer a lottery — and residents in some states embrace it more than others, as we learned in our 2022 study on lottery data. In light of the heightened frenzy, we revisited our study to see what’s changed.

Our study once again reveals that Massachusetts residents are big lottery spenders, while the people of North Dakota limit their lottery dollars. Our research also examines where residents are likely to win their money back and where players feel their losses the most.

  • Massachusetts residents spent 25 times more per capita than North Dakotans on the lottery in 2021. Massachusetts collected $1,024.91 per resident in lottery sales in 2021 (the latest available) — a 27.3% jump from 2020. Georgia ($526.98) and Michigan ($480.75) were the next closest. North Dakota collected the least at $39.74 per resident, followed by Wyoming ($54.50) and Montana ($61.99).
  • Virginia residents had the biggest jump in per-person lottery spending between 2020 and 2021. Virginians’ lottery spending jumped 54.0%, from $249.80 a person in 2020 to $384.65 in 2021. Mississippi (53.6%, from $99.89 to $153.41) and Arizona (37.4%, from $145.93 to $200.47) followed. New York was the only state where lottery sales per person decreased, dropping 11.3% from $455.93 in 2020 to $404.63 in 2021.
  • $5.00 of every $1,000 in personal income was spent on state lotteries in the 45 states with them, but that varied widely between states. $12.44 of every $1,000 in personal income went to lottery purchases in Massachusetts, as did $9.38 in Georgia and $8.79 in South Carolina. Meanwhile, only 61 cents of every $1,000 went to the lottery in North Dakota, followed by Wyoming (83 cents) and Montana ($1.07).
  • Among participating states, bettors got back 64 cents for every dollar they spent on the lottery. Ohio paid out 72 cents for each dollar spent, while five states paid out 70 cents: Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, Maine and Missouri. In contrast, payouts were less than a quarter per dollar spent in three states: South Dakota (20 cents), West Virginia (22 cents) and Oregon (24 cents).
  • In terms of the states that could least afford their lottery losses, we found that West Virginia lost $6.47 (lottery spending minus winnings) for every $1,000 in personal income throughout the state. Massachusetts and Rhode Island followed at $5.00 and $4.56 per $1,000 in personal income. These amounts stood in stark contrast to the $1.82 loss for every $1,000 in personal income among the 45 participating states.

How researchers determined how much consumers spent and won — and whether they could afford it

To determine consumers’ per-capita lottery spending, LendingTree researchers analyzed ticket sales (excluding commissions) in 2021 by state. Researchers then added the estimated commissions that participating stores receive for selling a winning ticket, setting a rate of 5.5% based on available data. (Your state’s commission may vary.)

  • To determine the amount consumers won, researchers divided lottery prize payouts per capita by lottery sales per capita.
  • To determine the amount consumers lost, researchers subtracted lottery prize payouts per capita from lottery sales per capita.

However, personal incomes in some states are low enough that the losses may be more meaningful — even if the total loss is lower. To determine which states can least afford lottery losses, researchers compared lottery sales to preliminary 2021 statewide personal incomes. Researchers looked at lottery sales and losses per $1,000 in personal income in the state.

The following states don’t have lotteries and were excluded:

  • Alabama
  • Alaska
  • Hawaii
  • Nevada
  • Utah
Our research reviewed how much consumers spend on state-administered lotteries, which include scratch-offs, traditional games, video-lottery terminals and any program under a state’s lottery.

Once again, data shows Massachusetts residents outspent lottery players in all other participating states — by far. In 2021 (the most recent data available), lottery sales in the state totaled $6,771,892,000 (minus commissions), or $1,024.91 per resident — more than triple the per-capita spending across the 45 participating states ($320.42).

The high per-capita spending in Massachusetts could be related to income — this New England state had the highest per-capita personal income in 2021. And that year’s median household income ($89,026) was 29.0% higher than the national median household income, $69,021. The higher earnings could mean residents have more disposable income available.

Georgia had the second-highest lottery spending per capita — although, at $526.98, lottery players in the Peach State spent almost half as much as Massachusetts residents. Michigan came in third at $480.75 per person.

North Dakota’s residents spend the least per capita on the lottery

Lottery spending in some states was significantly lower than the national average. North Dakota’s lottery players spent the least per person in 2021 — $39.74 — followed by Wyoming ($54.50) and Montana ($61.99). All three states maintained their bottom-three rankings from 2020.

Notably, the 2021 median household income in North Dakota was $68,131 — slightly below the national median household income ($69,021) and 23.5% lower than Massachusetts’. The income gap could account for the vast difference in the two states’ spending — Massachusetts residents spent 25 times more on the lottery than North Dakotans in 2021.

Similarly, Wyoming and Montana have median household incomes close to or below the national level. Wyoming’s $68,002 median household income is just 1.5% below the federal amount, while Montana’s $60,560 is 12.3% below. The poverty rate in both states is close to or above the national rate, while Massachusetts’ is below. As Massachusetts residents may have more income to spend on discretionary items, residents in North Dakota, Wyoming and Montana may have less.

States that spent the most on the lottery

Rank State Lottery sales per capita
1 Massachusetts $1,024.91
2 Georgia $526.98
3 Michigan $480.75
4 South Carolina $467.91
5 Rhode Island $456.22
6 Florida $425.13
7 Connecticut $415.98
8 Maryland $415.45
9 New York $404.63
10 Delaware $399.84
11 Pennsylvania $397.90
12 New Jersey $397.58
13 West Virginia $392.70
14 Virginia $384.65
15 New Hampshire $357.10
16 North Carolina $354.49
17 Kentucky $352.19
18 Ohio $336.04
19 Missouri $293.78
20 Illinois $284.54
21 Maine $284.41
22 Texas $281.40
23 Tennessee $272.07
24 South Dakota $268.49
25 Oregon $259.19
26 Indiana $253.95
27 Vermont $249.26
28 California $225.77
29 Arkansas $209.86
30 Arizona $200.47
31 Idaho $199.95
32 Wisconsin $153.86
33 Mississippi $153.41
34 Iowa $140.77
35 Minnesota $139.94
36 Colorado $135.68
37 Louisiana $133.95
38 Washington $119.47
39 Kansas $106.78
40 Nebraska $103.99
41 Oklahoma $93.02
42 New Mexico $77.70
43 Montana $61.99
44 Wyoming $54.50
45 North Dakota $39.74

Source: LendingTree analysis of the U.S. Census Bureau 2021 Annual Survey of State Government Finances and population data from the Census Bureau 2021 American Community Survey with one-year estimates. Note: Assumes store commission of 5.5% of ticket sales.

Virginia’s lottery players spent significantly more on the lottery in 2021 than in 2020 — increasing their spending 54.0%, from $249.80 a person to $384.65. Close behind was Mississippi, with the second-highest increase (53.6%), from $99.89 to $153.41. Arizona had the third-highest jump (37.4%), from $145.93 to $200.47.

Virginia’s increase could be attributed to the introduction of online lottery sales, which the state legalized in July 2020; in 2021, Virginia added to its online game offerings. Similarly, Mississippi’s state lottery is relatively young, launching in November 2019 with scratch-off games and growing steadily since.

In 2021, lottery spending increased in all states with one notable exception — New York. The Empire State saw an 11.3% decrease in lottery sales per capita, from $455.93 in 2020 to $404.63 in 2021. The per-capita spending decline echoes the drop in total lottery sales New York has experienced in the past few years. In 2020, total sales from lottery games and racinos (combined casinos and race tracks) fell 19% from the prior year, according to a USA Today Network New York analysis, partly due to COVID-19 closures and safety measures. The impact extended in 2021 as total sales declined again.

States where lottery spending jumped the most

Rank State Lottery sales per capita, 2021 Lottery sales per capita, 2020 Change ($) Change (%)
1 Virginia $384.65 $249.80 $134.85 54.0%
2 Mississippi $153.41 $99.89 $53.52 53.6%
3 Arizona $200.47 $145.93 $54.54 37.4%
4 Idaho $199.95 $148.08 $51.87 35.0%
5 Wyoming $54.50 $40.97 $13.53 33.0%
6 Kentucky $352.19 $267.64 $84.55 31.6%
7 Oklahoma $93.02 $71.23 $21.79 30.6%
8 South Dakota $268.49 $207.97 $60.52 29.1%
9 North Carolina $354.49 $274.82 $79.67 29.0%
10 Massachusetts $1,024.91 $805.30 $219.61 27.3%
11 California $225.77 $178.00 $47.77 26.8%
12 Indiana $253.95 $201.99 $51.96 25.7%
13 New Hampshire $357.10 $285.91 $71.19 24.9%
14 Wisconsin $153.86 $124.18 $29.68 23.9%
15 Maine $284.41 $229.87 $54.54 23.7%
16 North Dakota $39.74 $32.24 $7.50 23.3%
17 Florida $425.13 $345.25 $79.88 23.1%
18 Delaware $399.84 $325.01 $74.83 23.0%
19 Texas $281.40 $229.08 $52.32 22.8%
20 Georgia $526.98 $429.51 $97.47 22.7%
21 Louisiana $133.95 $109.40 $24.55 22.4%
22 Colorado $135.68 $110.94 $24.74 22.3%
23 West Virginia $392.70 $321.44 $71.26 22.2%
24 New Mexico $77.70 $63.83 $13.87 21.7%
25 Iowa $140.77 $116.28 $24.49 21.1%
26 Missouri $293.78 $244.79 $48.99 20.0%
27 Minnesota $139.94 $116.67 $23.27 19.9%
28 Illinois $284.54 $238.90 $45.64 19.1%
29 Kansas $106.78 $90.54 $16.24 17.9%
29 Washington $119.47 $101.34 $18.13 17.9%
31 South Carolina $467.91 $397.11 $70.80 17.8%
32 Michigan $480.75 $408.51 $72.24 17.7%
33 Maryland $415.45 $354.03 $61.42 17.3%
34 Pennsylvania $397.90 $342.70 $55.20 16.1%
35 Ohio $336.04 $293.03 $43.01 14.7%
36 Vermont $249.26 $218.53 $30.73 14.1%
37 Tennessee $272.07 $239.26 $32.81 13.7%
38 Connecticut $415.98 $366.63 $49.35 13.5%
39 Arkansas $209.86 $185.57 $24.29 13.1%
40 Oregon $259.19 $231.37 $27.82 12.0%
41 Nebraska $103.99 $93.78 $10.21 10.9%
42 New Jersey $397.58 $361.00 $36.58 10.1%
43 Rhode Island $456.22 $429.88 $26.34 6.1%
44 Montana $61.99 $58.62 $3.37 5.7%
45 New York $404.63 $455.93 -$51.30 -11.3%

Source: LendingTree analysis of the U.S. Census Bureau 2021 and 2020 Annual Survey of State Government Finances and population data from the Census Bureau 2021 American Community Survey with one-year estimates and U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) (2020). Note: Assumes store commission of 5.5% of ticket sales.

Our research also looked at each state’s lottery sales compared to personal income. Repeating the rankings of per-capita spending, Massachusetts residents dished out a larger share of their income on the lottery than any other state. Players spent $12.44 per $1,000 of personal income in 2021 — more than double the $5.00 spent across all participating states.

Georgia placed second, as it did in per-capita spending, with residents shelling out $9.38 per $1,000 of personal income. South Carolina, which had the fourth-highest sales per capita, placed third in this category ($8.79 per $1,000).

As expected, residents in states with low per-capita spending funneled a small share of their income to the lottery. North Dakota’s players spent 61 cents per $1,000 of personal income, the lowest in our rankings, followed by Wyoming (83 cents) and Montana ($1.07).

States that spent the biggest share of personal income on the lottery

Rank State Lottery sales per $1,000 of personal income in the state
1 Massachusetts $12.44
2 Georgia $9.38
3 South Carolina $8.79
4 Michigan $8.66
5 West Virginia $8.30
6 Rhode Island $7.34
7 Kentucky $6.92
8 Florida $6.85
9 Delaware $6.63
10 North Carolina $6.33
11 Pennsylvania $6.22
12 Maryland $5.98
13 Ohio $5.94
14 Virginia $5.84
15 New York $5.37
16 Missouri $5.30
16 New Jersey $5.30
18 Connecticut $5.07
19 Maine $4.92
20 New Hampshire $4.90
21 Tennessee $4.88
22 Texas $4.61
23 Indiana $4.49
24 Illinois $4.29
25 Oregon $4.23
26 Vermont $4.15
27 South Dakota $4.09
28 Arkansas $4.08
29 Idaho $3.71
30 Arizona $3.59
31 Mississippi $3.40
32 California $2.97
33 Wisconsin $2.62
34 Louisiana $2.48
35 Iowa $2.46
36 Minnesota $2.12
37 Colorado $1.94
38 Kansas $1.80
39 Oklahoma $1.73
40 Nebraska $1.66
41 Washington $1.64
42 New Mexico $1.57
43 Montana $1.07
44 Wyoming $0.83
45 North Dakota $0.61

Source: LendingTree analysis of the U.S. Census Bureau 2021 Annual Survey of State Government Finances, population data from the Census Bureau 2021 American Community Survey with one-year estimates and personal income data from the BEA. Note: Assumes store commission of 5.5% of ticket sales.

States that showed significant increases in lottery spending per person from 2020 to 2021 also had a jump in personal income spending, unsurprisingly. Virginia had the largest spike, with residents spending $5.84 per $1,000 in 2021, up 44.9% from $4.03 in 2020 — a possible result of online lottery sales.

Mississippi had the second-highest jump, with residents spending $3.40 in 2021, up 43.5% from $2.37 in 2020. Wyoming had the third-highest rise in personal income spending, despite having the fifth-highest increase in per-capita sales. Spending in the state went from 66 cents per $1,000 in 2020 to 83 cents per $1,000 in 2021 — a 25.8% increase.

New York residents spent a smaller portion of their income in 2021 — 12.3% less — in line with the state’s per-capita sales drop. Montana joined New York as the only states with a decline in personal income spending, as it dropped 2.7% (from $1.10 to $1.07).

States with the biggest jump in personal income spent on the lottery

Rank State Lottery sales per $1,000 of personal income in the state, 2021 Lottery sales per $1,000 of personal income in the state, 2020 Change ($) Change (%)
1 Virginia $5.84 $4.03 $1.81 44.9%
2 Mississippi $3.40 $2.37 $1.03 43.5%
3 Wyoming $0.83 $0.66 $0.17 25.8%
4 Kentucky $6.92 $5.65 $1.27 22.5%
5 Arizona $3.59 $2.94 $0.65 22.1%
6 Idaho $3.71 $3.04 $0.67 22.0%
7 Massachusetts $12.44 $10.26 $2.18 21.2%
8 Oklahoma $1.73 $1.43 $0.30 21.0%
9 Wisconsin $2.62 $2.23 $0.39 17.5%
10 North Dakota $0.61 $0.52 $0.09 17.3%
11 California $2.97 $2.54 $0.43 16.9%
12 South Dakota $4.09 $3.51 $0.58 16.5%
13 West Virginia $8.30 $7.14 $1.16 16.2%
14 Maine $4.92 $4.24 $0.68 16.0%
15 North Carolina $6.33 $5.46 $0.87 15.9%
16 Indiana $4.49 $3.89 $0.60 15.4%
17 Louisiana $2.48 $2.15 $0.33 15.3%
18 New Hampshire $4.90 $4.26 $0.64 15.0%
19 Delaware $6.63 $5.79 $0.84 14.5%
20 New Mexico $1.57 $1.38 $0.19 13.8%
21 Iowa $2.46 $2.17 $0.29 13.4%
22 Georgia $9.38 $8.29 $1.09 13.1%
23 Illinois $4.29 $3.80 $0.49 12.9%
23 Michigan $8.66 $7.67 $0.99 12.9%
25 Maryland $5.98 $5.30 $0.68 12.8%
25 Minnesota $2.12 $1.88 $0.24 12.8%
27 Vermont $4.15 $3.69 $0.46 12.5%
28 Pennsylvania $6.22 $5.55 $0.67 12.1%
29 Kansas $1.80 $1.61 $0.19 11.8%
29 Missouri $5.30 $4.74 $0.56 11.8%
31 Colorado $1.94 $1.74 $0.20 11.5%
32 Texas $4.61 $4.16 $0.45 10.8%
33 Florida $6.85 $6.20 $0.65 10.5%
34 Connecticut $5.07 $4.66 $0.41 8.8%
34 Ohio $5.94 $5.46 $0.48 8.8%
36 Washington $1.64 $1.51 $0.13 8.6%
37 New Jersey $5.30 $4.91 $0.39 7.9%
38 South Carolina $8.79 $8.27 $0.52 6.3%
39 Tennessee $4.88 $4.69 $0.19 4.1%
40 Arkansas $4.08 $3.93 $0.15 3.8%
40 Rhode Island $7.34 $7.07 $0.27 3.8%
42 Oregon $4.23 $4.11 $0.12 2.9%
43 Nebraska $1.66 $1.63 $0.03 1.8%
44 Montana $1.07 $1.10 -$0.03 -2.7%
45 New York $5.37 $6.12 -$0.75 -12.3%

Source: LendingTree analysis of the U.S. Census Bureau 2021 and 2020 Annual Survey of State Government Finances, population data from the Census Bureau 2021 American Community Survey with one-year estimates and U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (2020), and 2021 and 2020 personal income data from the BEA. Note: Assumes store commission of 5.5% of ticket sales.

Naturally, states with high per-capita sales had some of the largest prize payouts — lottery sales fund jackpots. Massachusetts residents earned the biggest winnings at $612.77 per capita — triple the payout across all states with lotteries of $203.87. Georgia was a distant second at $349.09 per capita, followed by South Carolina ($313.78).

Also, as expected, states with the lowest per-capita spending had the smallest payouts per person. North Dakota came in last with $21.05 per resident, followed by Wyoming ($30.29) and Montana ($40.02).

Prize payouts compared to dollars spent

When looking at payout size compared to sales, different states came out on top — and at the bottom. Despite ranking 11th for the largest prize payouts per person, Ohio’s lottery players earned back the greatest percentage of their money. Residents in the Buckeye State laid out $336.04 per person and won back $241.43 in 2021, a 72 cents per dollar payout — 12.5% higher than the 64 cents average across all participating states.

Five states tie for the second-highest payout per dollar spent at 70 cents — Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, Maine and Missouri.

Bettors in South Dakota didn’t win much compared to what they spent. Residents got back 20 cents per dollar — the least of all lottery-playing states. West Virginia had the second-smallest wins per dollar spent (22 cents), followed by Oregon (24 cents).

States that paid out the most compared to lottery sales

Rank State Lottery sales per capita Lottery prize payouts per capita Prizes paid out per dollar spent
1 Ohio $336.04 $241.43 $0.72
2 Arizona $200.47 $140.95 $0.70
2 Arkansas $209.86 $146.41 $0.70
2 Idaho $199.95 $139.59 $0.70
2 Maine $284.41 $198.21 $0.70
2 Missouri $293.78 $206.14 $0.70
7 Pennsylvania $397.90 $272.92 $0.69
8 Florida $425.13 $287.50 $0.68
8 Vermont $249.26 $168.56 $0.68
10 Colorado $135.68 $90.32 $0.67
10 Indiana $253.95 $169.43 $0.67
10 Kentucky $352.19 $237.52 $0.67
10 Minnesota $139.94 $94.03 $0.67
10 North Carolina $354.49 $237.52 $0.67
10 South Carolina $467.91 $313.78 $0.67
10 Texas $281.40 $187.73 $0.67
10 Virginia $384.65 $257.12 $0.67
18 Georgia $526.98 $349.09 $0.66
18 Tennessee $272.07 $180.22 $0.66
18 Washington $119.47 $79.17 $0.66
21 Iowa $140.77 $90.87 $0.65
21 Maryland $415.45 $269.33 $0.65
21 Michigan $480.75 $311.56 $0.65
21 Montana $61.99 $40.02 $0.65
25 Illinois $284.54 $181.67 $0.64
25 Kansas $106.78 $68.27 $0.64
27 California $225.77 $142.20 $0.63
27 New Hampshire $357.10 $226.59 $0.63
29 Connecticut $415.98 $257.88 $0.62
29 Mississippi $153.41 $95.55 $0.62
29 Wisconsin $153.86 $95.32 $0.62
32 New Jersey $397.58 $243.15 $0.61
32 Oklahoma $93.02 $56.74 $0.61
34 Massachusetts $1,024.91 $612.77 $0.60
34 Nebraska $103.99 $62.69 $0.60
36 Delaware $399.84 $229.93 $0.58
37 Louisiana $133.95 $75.98 $0.57
38 Wyoming $54.50 $30.29 $0.56
39 New York $404.63 $219.47 $0.54
40 North Dakota $39.74 $21.05 $0.53
41 New Mexico $77.70 $40.19 $0.52
42 Rhode Island $456.22 $172.68 $0.38
43 Oregon $259.19 $63.24 $0.24
44 West Virginia $392.70 $86.23 $0.22
45 South Dakota $268.49 $52.85 $0.20

Source: LendingTree analysis of the U.S. Census Bureau 2021 Annual Survey of State Government Finances and population data from the Census Bureau 2021 American Community Survey with one-year estimates. Note: Assumes store commission of 5.5% of ticket sales.

Looking at the prize payouts compared to how much players spent also shows how much they lost. When subtracting winning payouts from estimated sales, we calculated losses of $412.14 for every resident in Massachusetts. That’s far above the $116.55 per resident in the 45 states with lotteries — or even West Virginia and Rhode Island, which had the next-highest losses per capita at $306.47 and $283.54, respectively.

Meanwhile, it came as no surprise that the states where residents spent the least on lotteries were also the states where residents lost the lowest amounts: North Dakota ($18.69 per resident), Montana ($21.97) and Wyoming ($24.21).

States where residents lost the most on lotteries

Rank State Lottery sales per capita Lottery prize payouts per capita Losses per capita (sales minus payouts)
1 Massachusetts $1,024.91 $612.77 $412.14
2 West Virginia $392.70 $86.23 $306.47
3 Rhode Island $456.22 $172.68 $283.54
4 South Dakota $268.49 $52.85 $215.64
5 Oregon $259.19 $63.24 $195.95
6 New York $404.63 $219.47 $185.16
7 Georgia $526.98 $349.09 $177.89
8 Delaware $399.84 $229.93 $169.91
9 Michigan $480.75 $311.56 $169.19
10 Connecticut $415.98 $257.88 $158.10
11 New Jersey $397.58 $243.15 $154.43
12 South Carolina $467.91 $313.78 $154.13
13 Maryland $415.45 $269.33 $146.12
14 Florida $425.13 $287.50 $137.63
15 New Hampshire $357.10 $226.59 $130.51
16 Virginia $384.65 $257.12 $127.53
17 Pennsylvania $397.90 $272.92 $124.98
18 North Carolina $354.49 $237.52 $116.97
19 Kentucky $352.19 $237.52 $114.67
20 Illinois $284.54 $181.67 $102.87
21 Ohio $336.04 $241.43 $94.61
22 Texas $281.40 $187.73 $93.67
23 Tennessee $272.07 $180.22 $91.85
24 Missouri $293.78 $206.14 $87.64
25 Maine $284.41 $198.21 $86.20
26 Indiana $253.95 $169.43 $84.52
27 California $225.77 $142.20 $83.57
28 Vermont $249.26 $168.56 $80.70
29 Arkansas $209.86 $146.41 $63.45
30 Idaho $199.95 $139.59 $60.36
31 Arizona $200.47 $140.95 $59.52
32 Wisconsin $153.86 $95.32 $58.54
33 Louisiana $133.95 $75.98 $57.97
34 Mississippi $153.41 $95.55 $57.86
35 Iowa $140.77 $90.87 $49.90
36 Minnesota $139.94 $94.03 $45.91
37 Colorado $135.68 $90.32 $45.36
38 Nebraska $103.99 $62.69 $41.30
39 Washington $119.47 $79.17 $40.30
40 Kansas $106.78 $68.27 $38.51
41 New Mexico $77.70 $40.19 $37.51
42 Oklahoma $93.02 $56.74 $36.28
43 Wyoming $54.50 $30.29 $24.21
44 Montana $61.99 $40.02 $21.97
45 North Dakota $39.74 $21.05 $18.69

Source: LendingTree analysis of the U.S. Census Bureau 2021 Annual Survey of State Government Finances and population data from the Census Bureau 2021 American Community Survey with one-year estimates. Note: Assumes store commission of 5.5% of ticket sales.

Our research shows West Virginia residents lost more of their income to the lottery in 2021 than other states — $6.47 per $1,000. These losses were more than triple the average across the 45 participating states — $1.82.

Other states with high income losses included Massachusetts ($5.00 per $1,000) and Rhode Island ($4.56 per $1,000). At the other end of the spectrum, some states had minimal losses relative to income. North Dakota residents experienced the lowest losses per $1,000 of income (28 cents), followed by Wyoming (37 cents) and Montana (38 cents).

States that can least afford lottery losses

Rank State Lottery losses for every $1,000 of personal income in the state
1 West Virginia $6.47
2 Massachusetts $5.00
3 Rhode Island $4.56
4 South Dakota $3.28
5 Oregon $3.20
6 Georgia $3.17
7 Michigan $3.05
8 South Carolina $2.90
9 Delaware $2.82
10 New York $2.46
11 Kentucky $2.25
12 Florida $2.22
13 Maryland $2.10
14 North Carolina $2.09
15 New Jersey $2.06
16 Pennsylvania $1.95
17 Virginia $1.94
18 Connecticut $1.93
19 New Hampshire $1.79
20 Ohio $1.67
21 Tennessee $1.65
22 Missouri $1.58
23 Illinois $1.55
24 Texas $1.53
25 Indiana $1.49
25 Maine $1.49
27 Vermont $1.34
28 Mississippi $1.28
29 Arkansas $1.23
30 Idaho $1.12
31 California $1.10
32 Louisiana $1.07
32 Arizona $1.07
34 Wisconsin $1.00
35 Iowa $0.87
36 New Mexico $0.76
37 Minnesota $0.70
38 Oklahoma $0.68
39 Nebraska $0.66
40 Kansas $0.65
40 Colorado $0.65
42 Washington $0.55
43 Montana $0.38
44 Wyoming $0.37
45 North Dakota $0.28

Source: LendingTree analysis of the U.S. Census Bureau 2021 Annual Survey of State Government Finance, population data from the Census Bureau 2021 American Community Survey with one-year estimates and personal income data from the BEA. Note: Assumes store commission of 5.5% of ticket sales.

About half of Americans buy a lottery ticket once a year — usually when multistate lotteries like Powerball and Mega Millions are exceptionally high, and more people join the frenzy. However, some Americans play the lottery habitually — 1 in 8 buy lottery tickets once a week, Jonathan D. Cohen, author of “For a Dollar and a Dream: State Lotteries In Modern America,” told NPR earlier in 2023.

While motives for frequent playing vary — from paying off credit card debt to being able to quit a dead-end job — the consequences of habitual playing could be harmful. “If you play the lottery too often and spend too much money on it, the impact on your finances can be significant,” LendingTree chief credit analyst Matt Schulz says.

“That’s money that could go to things that are far more likely than a lottery ticket to pay off in the end, such as an emergency fund or saving for retirement, college or a mortgage down payment,” Schulz says.

If you choose to engage in the lottery, he suggests the following boundaries:

  • Treat the lottery as entertainment. Remember, you’re playing a game you’re not likely to win. “If you simply view it as fun money and don’t spend too much, you’ll be fine,” Schulz says.
  • Only play what you can afford to lose. “If the amount you’re spending on lottery tickets is such that your finances will be hurt if you don’t win, stop what you’re doing,” he says. “The odds simply are far from being in your favor.”
  • Budget your lottery spending. “If the lottery is your thing, carve out space in your budget for it the same way others do for travel, concert or game tickets or dining out,” Schulz says. “Doing that can help you avoid spending your way into trouble.”

LendingTree researchers analyzed lottery funds data from the U.S. Census Bureau 2021 Annual Survey of State Government Finances — the latest available — and the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), based on preliminary 2021 estimates on state personal income. State populations are from the Census Bureau 2021 American Community Survey with one-year estimates.

Analysts estimated the amount spent by residents of each state on lotteries (annual ticket sales excluding commissions, plus an assumed 5.5% in commissions), prize payouts and net losses on a per-capita basis, as well as amount spent, won and lost on lotteries per $1,000 in statewide personal income. Losses are defined as total estimated sales minus total prize payouts.

The following states don’t have lotteries and were excluded from our analysis:

  • Alabama
  • Alaska
  • Hawaii
  • Nevada
  • Utah

Source

This article originally appeared on LendingTree and was syndicated by MediaFeed.

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This article originally appeared on LendingTree and was syndicated by MediaFeed.

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