Lottery Facts


Lotteries are a cultural phenomenon, operating on all continents except Antarctica. They enjoy unprecedented popularity in the world of gambling. Legal in forty states, lotteries are widely accepted as harmless entertainment that raises money for the public good, rather than taxes. Opponents typically base their objections on religious or moral grounds, and may even abhor state-sponsored lotteries. Regardless of the reason, lotteries are a popular way for people to win big money.

History of U.S. lotteries

The United States has a long history of lotteries, first introduced in the colonies by British colonists. The Louisiana lottery was the first government lottery, but by the 1840s, anti-lottery sentiments were becoming more prevalent. By 1859, ten states outlawed lotteries altogether. The Louisiana Lottery Company derived 90% of its revenue from ticket sales across state lines, and its promoters were notorious for their corrupt practices.

The United States lottery is currently run by 48 jurisdictions, including 45 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands. Because lottery games are run by different states and jurisdictions, there is no federal lottery. State lotteries often operate together in consortiums to organize games that have a wider geographic footprint and carry larger jackpots. Two popular games are Mega Millions and Powerball, which are sold in almost every state.

Per capita spending on lottery tickets

Almost $70 billion was spent on lottery tickets in the United States in 2013. This money doesn’t go towards retirement savings, college tuition, or credit card debt. Instead, lottery players spend a large portion of their paychecks on tickets. This money represents ten percent of state collective budgets. Per capita spending on lottery tickets is disproportionately low in low-income communities. Here are some facts about lottery tickets in the United States.

During 2017, the average adult in the U.S. spent $320 on lottery tickets. That figure differs by state. For example, five states had median adult lottery spending of under $100, while five states saw the amount exceed $500. One state’s lottery revenue per capita almost reached $1,000. Those who live in these states are the ones who should be able to afford to buy a lottery ticket! And, if you are thinking about buying lottery tickets, you can now be one of those people!

Impact of income on participation in lotteries

A large survey examining lottery participation has recently reported that the wealth of lottery players is not correlated with their financial well-being. However, it is not clear whether this is due to the wealth of lottery players being unearned or because of the fact that the windfall is distributed among family members. However, the wealth of lottery players is considered unearned since it is different from household income. These results are relevant in current efforts to evaluate the benefits and costs of various policy proposals, such as basic income programs.

In addition, the research shows that lottery players with lower incomes are motivated by the urge to correct their social status. As such, the participants are more likely to purchase a lottery ticket if their relative income is lower than that of their peers. Despite the benefits of winning the jackpot, lottery participants with low incomes spend an average of $597 per year on tickets. This means that lottery tickets can be seen as a social equalizer that can help people improve their financial situations.

Taxes on lottery winnings

While winning the lottery is a dream come true for many, if you’re lucky enough to win a large jackpot, you’re going to have to pay taxes on your prize. Not just the federal government, but individual states, too. In New York, for example, you’ll have to pay taxes on your lottery winnings at a rate of between 8.82 percent and 82%. In other states, the tax rate is lower.

If you’re lucky enough to win the lottery, you can offset the state tax on your winnings with a federal deduction. However, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act has made the itemized deduction limit only $10,000 for singles and $5,000 for married couples filing separately. If you win a lottery, that $10,000 deduction is a drop in the bucket. If you plan on living in the state where you won the lottery, you might want to think about paying the full amount of state and local tax, as it will be much higher than the federal tax rate.