Should You Play the Lottery?

According to a recent NASPL report, sales of state lotteries were down across the country last year. This decline was particularly sharp in Delaware, where sales were down by 6.8%, but other states saw significant increases in 2003. In addition to the states listed above, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia saw strong increases. In fact, players in all five U.S. jurisdictions purchased more tickets last year than they did the year before. This increase is a sign that the Game has wide appeal.

Polls show support for lotteries

The lottery has been the most popular issue for Democrats this election cycle, and in the fiscally conservative South, lotteries are proving popular. A new poll from Elon University shows that 70 percent of North Carolinians support state-run lotteries. This level of support is steady since March, when the issue was first debated. According to Elon’s Center for Public Opinion Polling, people see lotteries as a positive way to improve education without raising taxes. However, many conservative Republican voters oppose lotteries on moral and religious grounds.

Although it is tempting to dismiss lottery results as unrepresentative and arbitrary, these numbers don’t necessarily prove anything. A recent Gallup poll shows that more than half of American adults find the lottery enjoyable. Additionally, almost half of those who play the lottery regularly purchase tickets at least occasionally. The poll was conducted June 14 – 23. The sample was randomly selected from among 1,025 adults in the U.S. and the District of Columbia. The margin of sampling error is plus-or-minus four percentage points at the 95% confidence level. The results of the poll have been weighted.

Players with low incomes most likely to buy tickets

The statistics are shocking. In Maryland, players are most likely to be male, low-income, and black. In Washington, the lottery market is predominantly white with the lowest percentage of minorities. But there are other factors at play as well. Among these is the age range, which is mostly 18 to 35. Those with low incomes are also the most likely to be lottery players. So, is the lottery a good option for people in these circumstances? Or is it a bad idea for them?

The lottery preys on vulnerable people. The poorest fifth of the population, primarily minorities, are the most likely to play. They are also more likely to be lottery addicts. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, lottery play is the most common among people in the lowest socio-economic quartile. Moreover, the majority of lottery players buy lottery tickets in poor neighborhoods. On average, a person earning less than $10,000 annually spends $597 on lottery tickets. African-Americans spend five times as much money on lottery tickets as whites.