States Spending the Most on Lottery Tickets

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When national lottery jackpots reach a half-billion dollar level, just about everyone notices. Friday’s drawing in the MegaMillions lottery will be worth about $502 million to a lucky winner (or winners). Or no one could win and the prize would increase for the next drawing.

The odds of holding a winning ticket are roughly one in 259 million. For a jackpot of this size, around 300 million $2 tickets are likely to be sold, so there’s a (very slightly) better than even chance that someone will win. With that in mind, here are some traps to avoid if you are the holder of the winning ticket.

According to data from, in 2016 total U.S. lottery revenues came in at $72.65 billion dollars. All but six states (Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii, Mississippi, Nevada and Utah) share in the take. Large population states take most of the revenue, but spending per capita breaks down differently.

The 10 states realizing the most revenue from lottery ticket sales in 2016 are listed here, along with their population rank.

  1. New York: $8.34 billion; population rank, fourth
  2. California: $6.28 billion; population rank, first
  3. Florida: $5.73 billion; population rank, third
  4. Massachusetts: $5.23 billion; population rank, 15th
  5. Texas: $4.79 billion; population rank, second
  6. Georgia: $4.03 billion; population rank, eighth
  7. Pennsylvania: $3.87 billion; population rank, fifth
  8. New Jersey: $3.10 billion; population rank, 11th
  9. Ohio: $2.87 billion; population rank, seventh
  10. Illinois: $2.86 billion; population rank, sixth

On a per capita spending basis, residents of Massachusetts far outspend any other state. The state’s residents spend an annual average of $762.98 on lottery tickets. West Virginians spend the next highest total, $598.47 per person annually. Other less-populated states where residents spend more than the U.S. average of $223.04 are Rhode Island, Delaware, South Carolina, Oregon and Tennessee.

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