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Online Lottery States Rank In Top 25 On Lottery Spending Per Capita

Written By Nicholaus Garcia | Updated:

If you made a list ranking the top states that spend the most on lottery games on a per-capita basis, it would appear very similar to college basketball’s top 25. Premier basketball states like Connecticut, Maryland, Ohio and North Carolina are on the list, but the surprising aspect is that all six states with online lotteries are in the top 25.

The modernization of gambling has produced things like mobile sports betting and online casino gambling. But despite the shift of gaming to the virtual space, only a handful of states have taken advantage of online lottery gaming.

Lottery spending per capita

Out of the 45 states with a retail lottery, only the “big six,” Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania, also have an online version.

In the fourth annual report on the subject published by LendEDU, a company that identifies financial trends, Massachusetts was the top-ranked state in terms of lottery spending per capita from 2016-18.

The US Census Bureau releases lottery spending data every two years. The data released on Jan. 31, 2020, represents lottery spending data from 2018.

Lottery Spending Per Capita, Top 25 (2016-18):

  1. Massachusetts: $765.90
  2. Rhode Island: $508.42
  3. Delaware: $455.88
  4. New York: $441.32
  5. Georgia: $385.20 
  6. New Jersey: $350.29
  7. West Virginia: $345.83
  8. Maryland: $337.89
  9. Connecticut: $335.67
  10. Michigan: $337.89 
  11. South Carolina: $315.94
  12. Pennsylvania: $304.53 
  13. Florida: $294.91
  14. Ohio: $252.71
  15. Oregon: $250.65
  16. New Hampshire: $248.43 
  17. Virginia: $236.49
  18. North Carolina: $231.09
  19. Illinois: $230.94 
  20. Missouri: $218.57
  21. Kentucky: $218.03 
  22. Tennessee: $215.43
  23. Maine: $206.24
  24. Vermont: $199.21
  25. South Dakota: $186.94

Although Massachusetts is ranked on top, the state has seen a slump in sales due to the coronavirus pandemic. In early March, the state closed over 1,500 retail lottery locations, resulting in a 5% annual drop in sales for the fiscal year.

State population key to revenue

Despite being ranked in the top 25, having both a retail and online lottery doesn’t necessarily translate to massive amounts of tax revenue. When you look at total revenue from state lotteries over the two-year period, Georgia is the only member of the big six to crack the top five. However, Pennsylvania (7) and Michigan (8) round out the top 10.

Top 5 Annual Lottery Revenue From 2016-18:

  • New York: $8,585,199,000
  • California: $6,965,792,000
  • Florida: $6,334,056,000
  • Texas: $5,321,126,000
  • Massachusetts: $5,278,989,000
  • Georgia: $4,089,821,000

But the other three, Illinois (11), Kentucky (21) and New Hampshire (33), aren’t far behind.

The US lottery as a whole

When looking at the data on a national scale, it’s clear that the US has seen a steady increase in lottery spending from 2015 to 2018.

In 2018, Americans spent a combined $76,362,627,000 on the lottery, averaging out to $232.64 per person based on the most recent US population estimate of 328,239,523.

  • 2018: $232.64
  • 2017: $219.54
  • 2016: $223.04
  • 2015: $206.69

Given the current state of the economy and how the coronavirus has affected every industry, including state lotteries, it would be no surprise to see these numbers decrease slightly when they are released in 2022. However, given recent trends in states like Texas and Arkansas where lottery sales actually increased during the pandemic, it’s anyone guess at this point.

Nicholaus Garcia Avatar
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Nicholaus Garcia

Nick Garcia is a senior reporter for PlayUSA. Garcia provides analysis and in-depth coverage of the gambling industry with a key focus on online casinos, sports betting and financial markets. Garcia has been covering the US gambling market since 2017. He attended Texas Tech University as an undergrad and received a Master of Arts in Journalism from Columbia College Chicago.

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