States Spending the Most and Least on Gambling

March 28, 2019 by Grant Suneson

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Gambling is becoming legal in more states and in different ways as of late. With online betting and the rising popularity of fantasy sports and sports betting, there are more ways than ever to wager.

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Many people consider gambling ill-advised or even sinful. In some of the most religious states gambling is outlawed in some or all forms because of moral objections.

Yet it is allowed and even encouraged by other states as taxes on casinos and profits from lotteries add hundreds of millions of dollars to state coffers where gambling is permitted. The states that allow gambling collected a total of $35.1 billion in 2016, helping to offset state debt

24/7 Wall St. reviewed lottery spending data from the U.S. Census Bureau and commercial casino spending data from the American Gaming Association to determine the states spending the most and least on gambling.

The average American adult spends around $261 on casinos and lottery tickets per year. This amount, however, is not evenly spread out. In Nevada, home of Las Vegas, nearly $5,000 per adult resident flowed into the state. In two states, casino and lottery gambling is barred by state law, so residents cannot spend any money on legally operated and taxed gambling.

To determine the states where residents spend the most on gambling, 24/7 Wall St. combined casino and lottery revenue per adult in every state and divided by the 2016 state population. 2016 consumer spending in commercial casinos comes from the 2016 State of the States report from the American Gaming Association. The AGA defines commercial casinos as privately owned and licensed by the state. Included are land-based, riverboat, dockside, and racetrack casinos. Because comprehensive data are not available, revenue from tribal casinos are excluded in state totals.

2016 lottery spending is from the U.S. Census Bureau and is the difference between total lottery income and prizes paid to players. Because total state tax revenues are available only through 2016, to calculate the share of total state tax revenue that comes from gambling, 2016 spending data from the AGA was used instead of 2017 for the calculation. Population estimates are from the U.S. Census Bureau and are for 2016.

Source: Eric Tessmer / Wikimedia Commons

50. Hawaii*
> Total spending per adult: $0
> Casino spending per adult: $0
> Lottery spending per adult: $0
> State tax revenue from gambling: $0.0 million

*No state gambling or lottery permitted

Source: JERRYE AND KLOTZ MD / Wikimedia Commons

49. Utah*
> Total spending per adult: $0
> Casino spending per adult: $0
> Lottery spending per adult: $0
> State tax revenue from gambling: $0.0 million

*No state gambling or lottery permitted

Source: AuburnPilot / Wikimedia Commons

48. Alabama*
> Total spending per adult: N/A
> Casino spending per adult: N/A
> Lottery spending per adult: $0
> State tax revenue from gambling: $0.0 million

*casino operations are operated by sovereign tribal governments and not included in this report

Source: photographingtravis / Flickr

47. Alaska*
> Total spending per adult: $0
> Casino spending per adult: $0
> Lottery spending per adult: $0
> State tax revenue from gambling: $0.0 million

*casino operations are operated by sovereign tribal governments and not included in this report

Source: Cliff / Wikimedia Commons

46. Wyoming
> Total spending per adult: $20
> Casino spending per adult: $0
> Lottery spending per adult: $20
> State tax revenue from gambling: $8.7 million

Source: Andrew Filer / Flickr

45. North Dakota
> Total spending per adult: $27
> Casino spending per adult: $0
> Lottery spending per adult: $27
> State tax revenue from gambling: $15.6 million

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44. Idaho
> Total spending per adult: $31
> Casino spending per adult: $0
> Lottery spending per adult: $31
> State tax revenue from gambling: $38.4 million

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43. Montana
> Total spending per adult: $32
> Casino spending per adult: $0
> Lottery spending per adult: $32
> State tax revenue from gambling: $26.2 million

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42. Minnesota
> Total spending per adult: $38
> Casino spending per adult: $0
> Lottery spending per adult: $38
> State tax revenue from gambling: $162.4 million

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41. Washington
> Total spending per adult: $40
> Casino spending per adult: $0
> Lottery spending per adult: $40
> State tax revenue from gambling: $226.0 million

Source: wellesenterprises / Getty Images

40. Nebraska
> Total spending per adult: $44
> Casino spending per adult: $0
> Lottery spending per adult: $44
> State tax revenue from gambling: $63.4 million

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39. Arizona
> Total spending per adult: $48
> Casino spending per adult: $0
> Lottery spending per adult: $48
> State tax revenue from gambling: $254.3 million

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38. Arkansas
> Total spending per adult: $53
> Casino spending per adult: $0
> Lottery spending per adult: $53
> State tax revenue from gambling: $120.9 million

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37. Wisconsin
> Total spending per adult: $57
> Casino spending per adult: $0
> Lottery spending per adult: $57
> State tax revenue from gambling: $254.6 million

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36. Oklahoma
> Total spending per adult: $70
> Casino spending per adult: $38
> Lottery spending per adult: $32
> State tax revenue from gambling: $114.9 million

Source: redjar / Flickr

35. Vermont
> Total spending per adult: $72
> Casino spending per adult: $0
> Lottery spending per adult: $72
> State tax revenue from gambling: $36.4 million

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34. California
> Total spending per adult: $77
> Casino spending per adult: $0
> Lottery spending per adult: $77
> State tax revenue from gambling: $2,319.8 million

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33. Texas
> Total spending per adult: $78
> Casino spending per adult: $0
> Lottery spending per adult: $78
> State tax revenue from gambling: $1,607.8 million

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32. Kentucky
> Total spending per adult: $88
> Casino spending per adult: $0
> Lottery spending per adult: $88
> State tax revenue from gambling: $300.7 million

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31. New Hampshire
> Total spending per adult: $91
> Casino spending per adult: $0
> Lottery spending per adult: $91
> State tax revenue from gambling: $97.5 million

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30. North Carolina
> Total spending per adult: $92
> Casino spending per adult: $0
> Lottery spending per adult: $92
> State tax revenue from gambling: $726.1 million

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29. Virginia
> Total spending per adult: $105
> Casino spending per adult: $0
> Lottery spending per adult: $105
> State tax revenue from gambling: $685.9 million

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28. South Carolina
> Total spending per adult: $114
> Casino spending per adult: $0
> Lottery spending per adult: $114
> State tax revenue from gambling: $440.2 million

Source: Imilious / Wikimedia Commons

27. Tennessee
> Total spending per adult: $130
> Casino spending per adult: $0
> Lottery spending per adult: $130
> State tax revenue from gambling: $669.7 million

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26. Connecticut
> Total spending per adult: $142
> Casino spending per adult: $0
> Lottery spending per adult: $142
> State tax revenue from gambling: $401.8 million

Source: Sumter BOCC / Wikimedia Commons

25. Florida
> Total spending per adult: $146
> Casino spending per adult: $33
> Lottery spending per adult: $113
> State tax revenue from gambling: $2,053.6 million

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24. Georgia
> Total spending per adult: $165
> Casino spending per adult: $0
> Lottery spending per adult: $165
> State tax revenue from gambling: $1,282.8 million

Source: jtstewartphoto / iStock

23. Maine
> Total spending per adult: $188
> Casino spending per adult: $124
> Lottery spending per adult: $65
> State tax revenue from gambling: $122.9 million

Source: Baiterek Media / Shutterstock.com

22. New Mexico
> Total spending per adult: $190
> Casino spending per adult: $146
> Lottery spending per adult: $44
> State tax revenue from gambling: $130.6 million

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21. Kansas
> Total spending per adult: $211
> Casino spending per adult: $166
> Lottery spending per adult: $45
> State tax revenue from gambling: $189.8 million

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20. Oregon
> Total spending per adult: $222
> Casino spending per adult: $0
> Lottery spending per adult: $222
> State tax revenue from gambling: $715.9 million

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19. Colorado
> Total spending per adult: $232
> Casino spending per adult: $190
> Lottery spending per adult: $42
> State tax revenue from gambling: $297.5 million

Source: marchello74 / Getty Images

18. Illinois
> Total spending per adult: $246
> Casino spending per adult: $143
> Lottery spending per adult: $103
> State tax revenue from gambling: $1,496.1 million

Source: stresstensor / Getty Images

17. Massachusetts
> Total spending per adult: $285
> Casino spending per adult: $29
> Lottery spending per adult: $256
> State tax revenue from gambling: $1,467.6 million

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16. Ohio
> Total spending per adult: $292
> Casino spending per adult: $188
> Lottery spending per adult: $104
> State tax revenue from gambling: $1,503.1 million

Source: SolomonCrowe / Getty Images

15. Michigan
> Total spending per adult: $300
> Casino spending per adult: $179
> Lottery spending per adult: $121
> State tax revenue from gambling: $1,272.0 million

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14. South Dakota
> Total spending per adult: $351
> Casino spending per adult: $161
> Lottery spending per adult: $191
> State tax revenue from gambling: $140.1 million

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13. New York
> Total spending per adult: $368
> Casino spending per adult: $130
> Lottery spending per adult: $239
> State tax revenue from gambling: $4,634.1 million

Source: ymn / Getty Images

12. Maryland
> Total spending per adult: $392
> Casino spending per adult: $258
> Lottery spending per adult: $135
> State tax revenue from gambling: $1,105.4 million

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11. Pennsylvania
> Total spending per adult: $439
> Casino spending per adult: $318
> Lottery spending per adult: $121
> State tax revenue from gambling: $2,613.4 million

Source: marekuliasz / Getty Images

10. Missouri
> Total spending per adult: $450
> Casino spending per adult: $365
> Lottery spending per adult: $86
> State tax revenue from gambling: $847.0 million

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9. Indiana
> Total spending per adult: $508
> Casino spending per adult: $438
> Lottery spending per adult: $70
> State tax revenue from gambling: $951.0 million

Source: Kirkikis / iStock

8. New Jersey
> Total spending per adult: $528
> Casino spending per adult: $374
> Lottery spending per adult: $154
> State tax revenue from gambling: $1,308.5 million

Source: locosteve / Flickr

7. Iowa
> Total spending per adult: $661
> Casino spending per adult: $601
> Lottery spending per adult: $60
> State tax revenue from gambling: $477.5 million

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6. Louisiana
> Total spending per adult: $770
> Casino spending per adult: $712
> Lottery spending per adult: $58
> State tax revenue from gambling: $810.8 million

Source: Wikimedia Commons / Brian M. Powell

5. West Virginia
> Total spending per adult: $811
> Casino spending per adult: $450
> Lottery spending per adult: $360
> State tax revenue from gambling: $828.3 million

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4. Delaware
> Total spending per adult: $930
> Casino spending per adult: $540
> Lottery spending per adult: $390
> State tax revenue from gambling: $448.5 million

Source: Tiago_Fernandez / Getty Images

3. Mississippi
> Total spending per adult: $937
> Casino spending per adult: $937
> Lottery spending per adult: $0
> State tax revenue from gambling: $253.9 million

Source: Adrian Wojcik / Getty Images

2. Rhode Island
> Total spending per adult: $1,178
> Casino spending per adult: $730
> Lottery spending per adult: $449
> State tax revenue from gambling: $701.5 million

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1. Nevada
> Total spending per adult: $4,973
> Casino spending per adult: $4,973
> Lottery spending per adult: $0
> State tax revenue from gambling: $900.6 million