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Tough economy?  Some cut back on lottery tickets, wagering

Insider BuzzInsider Buzz: Tough economy?  Some cut back on lottery tickets, wagering
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As gas pump prices and grocery store bills rise, customer service representative Rita Herron has been paying attention to where her money goes, and that means decreasing from 10 to two lottery tickets a week.

"I pay more for gas, and so I have less money left for tickets," Herron said. "Everything is going up."

Throughout the country, 20 lotteries, including California, have reported flat or declining sales, according to data from La Fleur's Magazine, a lottery trade publication, and state lottery officials. A decrease in lottery profits means California schools could receive $94 million less than originally anticipated for the coming school year, according to the California State Lottery Commission.

While the commission has no exact figures, press secretary Al Lundeen said the economy is one of several contributing factors to the decrease in lottery sales.

"Typically, lottery sales have to do with discretionary income, so common sense would say when there is less discretionary income, there will be decreased sales," he said.

Local store owner Gurcharan Dhillon said he does not think there is a link between higher gas prices and lottery sales because people who buy high volumes of gas at his ampm mini market rarely play the lottery.

"The people buying $100, $80, $60 (of gas), they hardly buy lotto tickets," he said. "Typically, people who buy lotto tickets are buying $15, $20 of gas."

However, Palms Sub Bourbon Liquors Mini-Mart employees have noticed a decline in lottery sales and have also cut back on their personal ticket purchases.

"We used to have people coming in and buying the expensive $3, $5 tickets, but now they are just buying $1 tickets here, $1 tickets there," employee Audel Ramirez said.

The state lottery commission's main focus to boost sales is on removing restrictions preventing higher jackpots, Lundeen said.

"Is it going to be a remedy for the poor economy? Naturally, we understand that it won't be the full answer, but other states have shown when there is a higher payout, more people play," he said.

When it comes to the education shortfall, each school gets paid directly from the lottery fund, which is administered by the State Controller's Office, Department of Education fiscal services administrator Peter Foggiato said.

"Our guidance is for schools to budget it as one-time money," he said.

There is no replacement if the lottery funds decrease, so each school will have to deal with it on an individual basis, Foggiato said.

"The state can't use lottery funds for a shortfall in the state's budget, so it does not work the opposite way," he said.

The Kern High School District will receive about $400,000 less this year than originally anticipated, said Paul Bealessio, director of budgets for the district.

"In a year where all sources of revenue are going down, it is hard to lose this too," he said. "Just more bad news."

Bealessio expects to lose about $200,000 from the district's general fund and another $200,000 of restricted funds that go toward instructional material. The district will make up the money through a combination of cutbacks and using restricted funds carried over from other years.

Other gambling options are also feeling the impact of the economy. The Sports Pavilion at Kern County Fairgrounds has seen a slight decrease in satellite betting from last year.

"Almost every business is having a little slide-off," satellite supervisor Dian Tootle said. "It's not drastic, but we've had a decrease."

The Pavilion is doing better than other satellite betting tracks in the state, Tootle said, and had more than doubled its previous attendance for the Belmont.

"Some of our customers are not coming in, but our regulars haven't been complaining much about the economy," Tootle said.

In four months, Donna Plunkett and Alvin DeShields have visited the racetrack twice, which is less than usual.

"We have to save for other things," DeShields said.

But some people are still willing to take a gamble in the hopes of winning big. Cory Brown still buys $5 to $20 worth of tickets a day.

"Because of the crisis, you hope to hit it big," Brown said. "It's funny. It's ironic. You spend more money just to spend more money... You figure you will make more money real quick, like, so you are buying lottery tickets."

Bakersfield Californian

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15 comments. Last comment 6 years ago by Lotto*Love.
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RJOh's avatar - chipmunk
mid-Ohio
United States
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March 24, 2001
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Posted: June 15, 2008, 2:16 pm - IP Logged

The economy works just the opposite on my lottery tickets buying. 

I was never a fan of the scratch-off because odds of 1/1000K doesn't mean much if you aren't shopping at the retailers that have the roll of tickets with the big winners where with lotto games the odds are the same for every player regardless of where they shop. 

I've alway budgeted my lottery spending by what I was giving up to buy a ticket.  Use to be I gave up a gallon of gas to buy one lottery ticket and now I can buy four tickets when I give up a gallon of gas.  Comparative speaking, $1 lottery tickets are an even better bargain as gas prices goes up and winning a million dollars still sounds nice regardless of gas prices.  When Powerball jackpots get high I don't travel out of state to buy tickets, I stay home and save my gas money until MegaMillions jackpots are up again and spend that money on MM tickets locally.

* you don't need more tickets, just the right ticket * 
* your best chance at winning a lottery jackpot is to buy a ticket * 
     Wink 

    justxploring's avatar - villiarna
    Wandering Aimlessly
    United States
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    November 5, 2005
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    Posted: June 15, 2008, 3:17 pm - IP Logged

    Like anything else, it depends on one's personal situation.  If you use your children's lunch money to buy lottery tickets, then you have a serious problem.  If you can afford to blow $10 or $20 without hurting anyone, then it's nobody's business what you do with your money.   I do agree that, during tough times, a lot of people figure "What the heck" and will spend more than they should.  However, if you don't have the money for gas to get to work, it would be crazy to spend more on the lottery.

      mylollipop's avatar - Trek STLOGO6.png

      United States
      Member #24380
      October 21, 2005
      623 Posts
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      Posted: June 15, 2008, 3:30 pm - IP Logged

      Like anything else, it depends on one's personal situation.  If you use your children's lunch money to buy lottery tickets, then you have a serious problem.  If you can afford to blow $10 or $20 without hurting anyone, then it's nobody's business what you do with your money.   I do agree that, during tough times, a lot of people figure "What the heck" and will spend more than they should.  However, if you don't have the money for gas to get to work, it would be crazy to spend more on the lottery.

      I Agree! I would certainly NOT strain my cramped budget to play the lottery.  Poor investment indeed.  What about the gas to get to work, money to pay for the increase in food, and everything else????  Obviously lotto sales will go down.  I beleive most, who are not addicted gamblers, play lottery with discretionary income.

        maine23's avatar - cigar
        dallas texas
        United States
        Member #13860
        April 16, 2005
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        Posted: June 15, 2008, 4:43 pm - IP Logged

        They should have a gas/lotto promo...good luck on this 1 right.....lol

          Avatar
          Kentucky
          United States
          Member #32652
          February 14, 2006
          5512 Posts
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          Posted: June 15, 2008, 4:57 pm - IP Logged

          The economy works just the opposite on my lottery tickets buying. 

          I was never a fan of the scratch-off because odds of 1/1000K doesn't mean much if you aren't shopping at the retailers that have the roll of tickets with the big winners where with lotto games the odds are the same for every player regardless of where they shop. 

          I've alway budgeted my lottery spending by what I was giving up to buy a ticket.  Use to be I gave up a gallon of gas to buy one lottery ticket and now I can buy four tickets when I give up a gallon of gas.  Comparative speaking, $1 lottery tickets are an even better bargain as gas prices goes up and winning a million dollars still sounds nice regardless of gas prices.  When Powerball jackpots get high I don't travel out of state to buy tickets, I stay home and save my gas money until MegaMillions jackpots are up again and spend that money on MM tickets locally.

          I Agree!

          Some people will not plan on taking those 1000 mile round trip vacations because of the price of gas and might play an extra buck or two on the lottery for a chance of winning enough so they can still take that vacation. Attendance at county fairs are usually up when the economy is down and with the price of gas being high, more people will probably do their summer things closer to home.


            United States
            Member #58528
            February 18, 2008
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            Posted: June 15, 2008, 6:13 pm - IP Logged

            What I spend on PB & MM will only buy me a gallon and a half of gasoline.A gallon and a half of gasoline won't take me very far while a lucky lottery ticket has the potential to take me anywhere in the world that I may want to go.

              ThatScaryChick's avatar - AbnSTiA

              United States
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              November 21, 2007
              4657 Posts
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              Posted: June 15, 2008, 7:10 pm - IP Logged

              I know I am one of those who has had to cut back on the amount I play. Food, gas, bills, etc. come ahead of playing the lottery. I have money set aside for playing and I still play, but it is less then the amount I used to play with.

              "No one remembers the person who almost climbed the mountain, only the person who eventually gets to the top."

                justxploring's avatar - villiarna
                Wandering Aimlessly
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                Posted: June 15, 2008, 7:34 pm - IP Logged

                They should have a gas/lotto promo...good luck on this 1 right.....lol

                I'm pretty sure Washington has one. 

                 

                Here it is:

                 

                http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2004478639_webgaslottery15.html

                  Avatar
                  New Jersey
                  United States
                  Member #21206
                  September 4, 2005
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                  Posted: June 15, 2008, 10:32 pm - IP Logged

                  The recent run on powerball is running about $2,000,000 below the average (over 5 draws) for powerball.

                  On the other hand, some of the more recent runs of Megamillions were running above average.

                  It's hard to say what the exact cause is though.

                  Personally I play according to a formula I've developed based on expectation value (for the cash) prize, which is the ratio of the potential payout to the odds.

                  Since Megamillions has longer odds, I tend to play it only after the prize as advertised by annuity is over 50 million, and only marginally then.

                  I will play powerball now, but not a lot of tickets.

                  I live very close to the PA/NJ border so gas is not a real big issue with me for buying tickets.

                    BaristaExpress's avatar - BaristaExpressMX zpsfb0d8b5d.png
                    Magnolia, Delaware
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                    July 20, 2005
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                    Posted: June 16, 2008, 12:45 am - IP Logged

                    The price of gas has nothing to do with my playing the lottery! I'm going to pay whatever the price for a gallon of gas if I'm going to drive a car.... it's that plain and simple! And so are the rest of you, so stop with the BS about what you have to do in-order to play the lottery because of the price of a gallon of gasoline!

                    I'll always drive my car 30 miles one-way to get MM tickets (jackpot has to be 100 million cash option) then I'm going to do it! And I've always made that trip no matter what the price of a gallon of gas has been over the last 8 yrs. that I have been making that trip! I will always make that drive when it's that high and I don't care if gas is $10.00 a gallon! I will NOT be a prisoner to my house just because of the price of a gallon of gas! You know why? because we humans always find a way, no matter what if we really want to do something we want to do!

                    Besides the old saying "Don't spend more than you can afford to lose", applies to the lottery and not just for going to the casinos! Gambling is just that "GAMBLING" no matter how you slice it! 

                    Keep dreaming the impossible dream, it just may come true! Thumbs Up

                      Avatar

                      United States
                      Member #10720
                      January 23, 2005
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                      Posted: June 16, 2008, 8:45 pm - IP Logged

                      Since April I've been playing much less, only one play per draw just so I can still have a chance to win and look forward to the drawings. It turns out to be more fun to have only 1 number or set in each game because if I lose it's not as big a deal. The payouts on the daily games are still the same, but the big games' jackpots increase more slowly. Even so I still see frequent winners of PB and MM. People still play. I haven't won much lately but for the last few months it was still better than when I have an off month with normal play. The cutbacks are not because "I have to choose between gas and Lottery" but because in this economy teetering on Recession it's just not smart to spend too much on anything.

                      The extra $1+ per gallon this year vs. last, represents 2 daily number plays per gallon, or one extra MM. The money is coming from somewhere as there is still plenty of traffic and the first things to go are usually Lottery or other entertainment.

                      If the Lotteries want to improve sales they need to improve odds. Stop adding balls, stop going computerized, and make so that more tickets win small prizes. Usually people winning $2 will immediately replay it so they would have not much to lose by increasing those. And it's very difficult to beat the 2:1 ratio where every $1 you play returns 50c unless you can have an algorithm that matches twice as often as a QP.

                        maine23's avatar - cigar
                        dallas texas
                        United States
                        Member #13860
                        April 16, 2005
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                        Posted: June 16, 2008, 8:51 pm - IP Logged

                        Goes to show I have good ideas...I didnt know they were even having gas/lotto promo....Hopefully Texas will consider it....Ill be waitin at the pump with my sleepers on....lol

                          Avatar

                          United States
                          Member #9639
                          December 14, 2004
                          18 Posts
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                          Posted: June 18, 2008, 11:32 am - IP Logged

                          The recent run on powerball is running about $2,000,000 below the average (over 5 draws) for powerball.

                          On the other hand, some of the more recent runs of Megamillions were running above average.

                          It's hard to say what the exact cause is though.

                          Personally I play according to a formula I've developed based on expectation value (for the cash) prize, which is the ratio of the potential payout to the odds.

                          Since Megamillions has longer odds, I tend to play it only after the prize as advertised by annuity is over 50 million, and only marginally then.

                          I will play powerball now, but not a lot of tickets.

                          I live very close to the PA/NJ border so gas is not a real big issue with me for buying tickets.

                          I've got a formula too. I budget one day's take home pay plus winnings for the year.

                          The formula is then

                          (money left in budget/drawings left)*(prize/100 million)

                          So as with  you, an increase in the jackpot can increase the amount I play, but it's also affected by how much I've spent so far and how much longer I have to make my lottery budget last.

                          I don't know if this is a perfect formula, but it keeps me from going broke buying lottery tickets. :)


                            United States
                            Member #62234
                            June 21, 2008
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                            Posted: June 22, 2008, 2:19 pm - IP Logged

                            wrong!