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

Posted on August 5, 2020 - Last Updated on September 8, 2020

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.

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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
Written by
Nicholaus Garcia

Nick has had stints in Chicago, writing about local politics, and in Washington, D.C., covering the expanding gambling industry. Now back in Chicago, he continues to write about the emerging sports betting market with a focus on the Midwest. Originally from West Texas, he graduated from Texas Tech University and completed his master's degree in journalism at Columbia College Chicago.

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