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New survey destroys myth that poor Americans buy most lottery tickets

Insider BuzzInsider Buzz: New survey destroys myth that poor Americans buy most lottery tickets
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Half of all Americans play the lottery

New Gallup survey results have again debunked the popular myth created by anti-lottery crusaders that low-income Americans buy a disproportionate number of lottery tickets.

Roughly half of Americans say they have bought a state lottery ticket within the last year, similar to the figures recorded in 2003 and 2007, but down considerably from the 57% who said they played the state lottery in 1996 and 1999. This trend has occurred even as the number of states with lotteries grew over this period from 37 states and the District of Columbia to 44.

These latest data are from a Gallup survey conducted June 14-23. The exact reason for the decline in Americans' reports of playing the lottery during the last 13 years is not clear, although gamblers now also have a wider range of gambling avenues from which to choose, including the proliferation of online poker and online fantasy sports leagues, according to Gallup.

Poorer, less educated less likely to buy lottery tickets

Critics of state-sponsored lotteries argue that they disproportionately prey on the hopes of disadvantaged groups such as the poor and less educated, who can least afford to be spending on non-essentials. According to some lottery critics, lottery winnings can have an outsized appeal to economically vulnerable Americans who have less disposable income.

The latest Gallup update, however, shows that Americans whose annual household income is less than $36,000 per year were substantially less likely than higher-income Americans to say they have purchased a state lottery ticket within the past year. Four in 10 lower-income Americans say they bought a lottery ticket during that time, while more than half of middle- (56%) and upper-income Americans (53%) say the same.

There are also modest differences by education. Less than half of Americans (47%) with a high-school diploma or less say they have purchased a state lottery ticket — on par with those with postgraduate education (45%). However, more than half of Americans with some college, as well as those whose highest education is a college degree, say they have bought a state lottery ticket (53% each).

While these findings may defy common conceptions of gamblers as lower-income and less-educated Americans, they echo previous Gallup studies from 1999, 2004 and 2007. In each of those three years, higher-income Americans were more likely than lower-income Americans to say they gambled. In two of the three, Gallup found that more highly educated Americans were more likely than less-educated Americans to say they gambled.

Nearly two-thirds of Americans gamble in some fashion

Playing a state lottery is the most popular of 11 common gambling activities measured in Gallup's latest update on gambling behavior, with barely a quarter of Americans reporting engaging in the second-most-popular mode of gambling — visiting a casino (26%). Other than participating in a sports-related office pool (15%), no more than one in 10 Americans say they participated in each of the other types of gambling tested within the past year, including wagering on professional sports events (10%) or playing video poker (9%).

Few Americans concerned about their gambling behavior

Gambling does not appear to represent a major problem for Americans. Fewer than one in 10 (7%) say they sometimes gamble more than they should, and an identical 7% say gambling has at some point been a source of problems in their family. There has been little change in responses to these two questions over the years.

Lower-income Americans are slightly more likely than those making more money to say they sometimes gamble more than they should, but the differences are not large (11% vs. 6% or 7%). Similarly, one in 10 lower-income Americans report that gambling has been a source of problems in their family, compared with 6% of middle-income and 3% of upper-income Americans.

Implications

In a year marked by a record lottery jackpot in excess of $1 billion, many states are seeing increased revenues from lottery ticket sales. In fact, Massachusetts' state treasurer announced this week that the state saw record highs for both lottery sales and profits in the last fiscal year, selling $5.23 billion in lottery tickets. These trends are occurring despite little evidence of an increase in the percentage of the adult population who play the lottery in recent years.

Many states' lottery revenue supports dedicated policy funds, such as education (for example, Florida), environmental protection (Colorado) or assistance to the elderly (Pennsylvania). By tying revenues to support of public goods, states position their lotteries as a means to supplement popular policies. The role of the lottery remains controversial in some quarters, however. The nonprofit North Carolina Center for Public Policy Research has found that rather than supplementing the budgets of programs for which lottery revenues are dedicated, some states use lottery revenues to fund those programs at normal levels, and then move government funds to other budget items.

Whatever the big-picture consequences of state lotteries, about half of Americans find playing the lottery rewarding enough on a personal basis that they buy a ticket — at least occasionally.

Survey methods

Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted June 14-23, 2016, with a random sample of 1,025 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. For results based on the total sample of national adults, the margin of sampling error is ±4 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. All reported margins of sampling error include computed design effects for weighting.

Each sample of national adults includes a minimum quota of 60% cellphone respondents and 40% landline respondents, with additional minimum quotas by time zone within region. Landline and cellular telephone numbers are selected using random-digit-dial methods.

News story photo(Click to display full-size in gallery)

Gallup, Lottery Post Staff

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48 comments. Last comment 4 months ago by Stack47.
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mypiemaster's avatar - 2015021003pileofcash
JACKPOT HUNTER

United States
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April 2, 2013
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Posted: July 25, 2016, 2:23 pm - IP Logged

I knew that was BS from day 1 BS

Seek and ye shall find -Matt. 7:7 ...Ask and ye shall receive -John 16:24 ...Give and it shall be given unto you -Luke 6:38 ...Be careful what you ask for!!! -Mypiemaster 1:1

Having Money Solves Problems That Not Having Money Creates Yes Nod ****John Carlton****

    MoneyMike$'s avatar - Lottery-050.jpg
    Ny
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    Posted: July 25, 2016, 2:34 pm - IP Logged

    haha i've always noticed cheaper people (less fortunate) don't want to spemnd on the lottery.. Then most players are people with income that want more

    Creativity..

    " What's more likely to happen will happen.. "

    Million dollar operation 

    Wink

      Avatar
      Simpsonville
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      Member #163189
      January 22, 2015
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      Posted: July 25, 2016, 3:05 pm - IP Logged

      Hello Alabamanians!!  Time to read  AND comprehend this article.  I should have worded it POLITICIANS in Alabama.

        LiveInGreenBay's avatar - driver
        Green Bay
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        Posted: July 25, 2016, 3:11 pm - IP Logged

        I'm willing to bet even the anti-lottery crusaders buy lottery tickets.  Just another case of...Do as I say, not as I do.

        Never give up.  Banana

          Avatar
          Kentucky
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          Posted: July 25, 2016, 3:29 pm - IP Logged

          a random sample of 1,025 adults.....living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.

          A year ago a "random sample of 1025 adults" would probably show Jeb Bush winning the Republican Party nomination. I'm not disagreeing with the accuracy of the survey, just wondering why it included all 50 states when only 44 states have a state lottery. And considering 635 million PB tickets were sold for the Jan 13 drawing, the sales numbers probably included thousands of "one-time-players".

          If a $1.58 billion jackpot for a $2 bet won't entice non players, what will?

            LiveInGreenBay's avatar - driver
            Green Bay
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            Posted: July 25, 2016, 3:38 pm - IP Logged

            Good catch on the 50 states.  You think they'd confine it to States that had a lottery.  LOL!

            Never give up.  Banana

              Drenick1's avatar - villiarna
              USA
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              Posted: July 25, 2016, 3:40 pm - IP Logged

              a random sample of 1,025 adults.....living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.

              A year ago a "random sample of 1025 adults" would probably show Jeb Bush winning the Republican Party nomination. I'm not disagreeing with the accuracy of the survey, just wondering why it included all 50 states when only 44 states have a state lottery. And considering 635 million PB tickets were sold for the Jan 13 drawing, the sales numbers probably included thousands of "one-time-players".

              If a $1.58 billion jackpot for a $2 bet won't entice non players, what will?

              "If a $1.58 billion jackpot for a $2 bet won't entice non players, what will?"

              Valid point. My husband who is extremely anti-lottery even participated in that drawing. He hasn't purchased a ticket since.

                LottoLucy's avatar - hereslucy header.jpg

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                Posted: July 25, 2016, 3:46 pm - IP Logged

                a random sample of 1,025 adults.....living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.

                A year ago a "random sample of 1025 adults" would probably show Jeb Bush winning the Republican Party nomination. I'm not disagreeing with the accuracy of the survey, just wondering why it included all 50 states when only 44 states have a state lottery. And considering 635 million PB tickets were sold for the Jan 13 drawing, the sales numbers probably included thousands of "one-time-players".

                If a $1.58 billion jackpot for a $2 bet won't entice non players, what will?

                Lots of people who live in states without lotteries still play the lottery.  For a long time I lived in a state that didn't have a lottery but I was a regular player anyway.  Plus there were questions about gambling in general in the survey.

                Lotto Lucy

                  Todd's avatar - Cylon 2.gif
                  Chief Bottle Washer
                  New Jersey
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                  May 31, 2000
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                  Posted: July 25, 2016, 3:51 pm - IP Logged

                  a random sample of 1,025 adults.....living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.

                  A year ago a "random sample of 1025 adults" would probably show Jeb Bush winning the Republican Party nomination. I'm not disagreeing with the accuracy of the survey, just wondering why it included all 50 states when only 44 states have a state lottery. And considering 635 million PB tickets were sold for the Jan 13 drawing, the sales numbers probably included thousands of "one-time-players".

                  If a $1.58 billion jackpot for a $2 bet won't entice non players, what will?

                  Comparing lottery play to a political candidate is a false narrative.  Even comparing the number of adults who eat Cornflakes is a better comparison than a political comparison.

                   

                  Check the State Lottery Report Card
                  What grade did your lottery earn?

                   

                  Sign the Petition for True Lottery Drawings
                  Help eliminate computerized drawings!

                    music*'s avatar - nw bookeep.jpg
                    Happy California
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                    Posted: July 25, 2016, 4:44 pm - IP Logged

                    I knew that was BS from day 1 BS

                    I Agree! Common sense teaches us that the poor do not have enough money to support the lottery.

                     This was a good survey. Patriot

                     I've been rich and I've been poor. Believe me, rich is better. 

                     Attributed to Joe E. Lewis and others

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                      orlando,fl
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                      Posted: July 25, 2016, 5:24 pm - IP Logged

                      LOL. Yeah that's why a Florida Senator won the jackpot prize of Lucky $200,000 a year for life cause he was too poor and had no comment when he won.

                        Deo-nonfortuna's avatar - hqdefault
                        NJ
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                        Posted: July 25, 2016, 8:07 pm - IP Logged

                        I Agree! Common sense teaches us that the poor do not have enough money to support the lottery.

                         This was a good survey. Patriot

                        Ur from Cali, so let me ask u this, why is that no MM PB jackpot winning tickets are sold from Beverly Hills, Malibu, and Santa Barbara?

                        All things which are similar and therefore connected, are drawn to each other's power.

                          realtorjim's avatar - images q=tbn:ANd9GcT7U3t20NgScoPlxOqLT6TR0vQeJNBV3_tTswe1XeFDTsdw3NLZ

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                          Posted: July 25, 2016, 8:47 pm - IP Logged

                          Ur from Cali, so let me ask u this, why is that no MM PB jackpot winning tickets are sold from Beverly Hills, Malibu, and Santa Barbara?

                          Designated Lucky Retailers

                          Lucky Retailers are those Lottery Retail locations that sold at least one $100,000 winning ticket during the previous calendar year, or paid out an average of 400 or more winning tickets per week during the previous calendar year, or paid out an average of $4,000 or more in winning tickets per week during the previous calendar year.

                          ROBERT BURNS WINE

                          157 N ROBERTSON BL
                          BEVERLY HILLS, CA. 90211

                          • $100,000 or more winner*
                          • $4,000 per week in winning tickets*

                          76

                          427 N Crescent Dr

                          Beverly Hills, CA  90210

                           ** Paid out an average of 400 or more winning tickets per week during the previous calendar year
                          *** Paid out average of $4,000 or more worth of winning tickets per week during the previous calendar year

                          SHELL

                          23387 PACIFIC COAST HWY
                          MALIBU, CA. 90265 

                          *** Paid out average of $4,000 or more worth of winning tickets per week during the previous calendar year

                          7-ELEVEN

                          331 W MONTECITO ST

                          SANTA BARBARA, CA 93101

                          *** Paid out average of $4,000 or more worth of winning tickets per week during the previous calendar year

                          PAT'S LIQUOR

                          424 N MILPAS ST
                          SANTA BARBARA, CA. 93103

                          *** Paid out average of $4,000 or more worth of winning tickets per week during the previous calendar year

                          MILPAS LIQUOR

                          314 N MILPAS ST
                          SANTA BARBARA, CA. 93103 

                          ** Paid out an average of 400 or more winning tickets per week during the previous calendar year
                          *** Paid out average of $4,000 or more worth of winning tickets per week during the previous calendar year

                          7-ELEVEN

                          1909 CLIFF DR
                          SANTA BARBARA, CA. 93109

                          ** Paid out an average of 400 or more winning tickets per week during the previous calendar year
                          *** Paid out average of $4,000 or more worth of winning tickets per week during the previous calendar year

                          7-ELEVEN

                          3430 STATE ST
                          SANTA BARBARA, CA. 93105

                          ** Paid out an average of 400 or more winning tickets per week during the previous calendar year
                          *** Paid out average of $4,000 or more worth of winning tickets per week during the previous calendar year

                           

                            I'm feeling a jackpot win coming my way!

                            Kingofearth's avatar - Kinnak
                            Upstate NY
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                            Posted: July 25, 2016, 8:51 pm - IP Logged

                            "If a $1.58 billion jackpot for a $2 bet won't entice non players, what will?"

                            Valid point. My husband who is extremely anti-lottery even participated in that drawing. He hasn't purchased a ticket since.

                            And my anti-lottery dad didn't buy a ticket even for the 1.5 Billion. There is gonna be a large minority of people who for one reason or another will NEVER buy a ticket regardless of its size. Exactly how big of a minority is unknown, atleast to me.