Special Report

States Spending the Most and Least on Gambling

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45. Wyoming
> Annual lottery and casino spending: $68 per adult ($30.2 million total)
> Annual casino spending: $0
> Annual lottery spending: $68 per adult ($30.2 million total)
> State tax revenue from casinos: $0

Like many other states, Wyoming generates no revenue from casino gambling. Though there are several Indian casinos operating in the state, these venues are exempt from state taxes.

State revenue from gambling comes primarily from the state lottery. Voters in Wyoming approved a state lottery in 2013, and though video lotteries and instant games like scratch offs remain prohibited, the state reported $30.2 million in revenue from lottery ticket sales in 2019, or $68 for every adult state resident.

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44. Montana
> Annual lottery and casino spending: $76 per adult ($63.9 million total)
> Annual casino spending: $0
> Annual lottery spending: $76 per adult ($63.9 million total)
> State tax revenue from casinos: $0

Montana is home to over a dozen Indian casinos as well as poker tables and video gambling machines in hundreds of bar rooms and taverns across the state. However, these establishments are not classified as commercial casinos, and while the state does collect taxes and fees on winnings and licensing, such revenue is not considered revenue from commercial casinos. As is the case in other states, tribal casinos are not subject to state tax in Montana.

The state also has a lottery that generated nearly $64 million in sales in 2019 — or $76 for every adult living in the state. With the exception of offtrack betting, online gambling — including fantasy sports — is prohibited in Montana.

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43. Nebraska
> Annual lottery and casino spending: $123 per adult ($179.8 million total)
> Annual casino spending: $0
> Annual lottery spending: $123 per adult ($179.8 million total)
> State tax revenue from casinos: $0

In addition to four horse racing tracks, charity bingo, and online fantasy sports betting, lottery is the other legal form of gambling in Nebraska. Businesses that sell liquor are also permitted to offer keno drawings, a popular game of chance in many commercial casinos in other parts of the country.

The state lottery, which was approved by voters in 1992, includes scratch off ticket sales as well as Powerball and Mega Millions. The lottery generated nearly $180 million in sales in 2019, or $123 for every adult.

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42. Oklahoma
> Annual lottery and casino spending: $127 per adult ($382.8 million total)
> Annual casino spending: $47 per adult ($140.9 million total)
> Annual lottery spending: $81 per adult ($242.0 million total)
> State tax revenue from casinos: $63.8 0 (0.6% of all tax revenue)

Oklahoma is one of many states in which both lotteries and commercial casinos are legal. Many casinos in the state benefit from being located near the Texas border, as the Lone Star State does not allow casinos. Oklahoma boasts the third most electronic gaming devices of any state, trailing only Nevada and California. Casino spending in the state totalled $140.9 million in 2019.

The first state lottery ticket was sold in Oklahoma in 2005, and in 2019, the state lottery reported $242.0 million in ticket sales. Spending on lotteries and at casinos in the state, however, totals $127 a year per adult, the lowest such per capita spending rate of any state — excluding those without commercial casinos.

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41. Washington
> Annual lottery and casino spending: $135 per adult ($803.3 million total)
> Annual casino spending: $0
> Annual lottery spending: $135 per adult ($803.3 million total)
> State tax revenue from casinos: $0

While there are many Native American casinos on tribal land in Washington, commercial casinos are not permitted in the state. Tribal casinos were legalized in the state in 1992, and card clubs that offer live poker tables and other card games have been regulated in the state since 1997. These casinos are exempt from taxes that commercial casinos in other parts of the country are subject to.

Washington’s state lottery was approved by the legislature in 1982, and today, adults in the state can play scratch offs, Powerball, and Mega Millions. Lottery ticket sales totalled $803.3 million in 2019, or an average of $135 for every adult in the state.