Special Report

States Spending the Most and Least on Gambling

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40. Minnesota
> Annual lottery and casino spending: $147 per adult ($636.8 million total)
> Annual casino spending: $0
> Annual lottery spending: $147 per adult ($636.8 million total)
> State tax revenue from casinos: $0

There were a total of 40 Indian casinos — operated by seven different tribes — in Minnesota in 2019. These establishments are permitted to offer slot machines, video poker, and blackjack, but such casinos are exempt from state taxes. Commercial casinos are not legal in the state. The state’s revenue from gambling comes from the state lottery, which sold nearly $637 million in lottery tickets in 2019.

In the last decade, the Minnesota Vikings NFL team received approval for a new stadium. To help fund the construction, the state was baking on revenue from electronic pull-tabs, which are similar to casino slot machines, in bars around the state. However, the games were not popular and revenue from this form of gambling fell well short of the $35 million that was anticipated.

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39. Wisconsin
> Annual lottery and casino spending: $149 per adult ($677.3 million total)
> Annual casino spending: $0
> Annual lottery spending: $149 per adult ($677.3 million total)
> State tax revenue from casinos: $0

Wisconsin was home to more than two dozen tribal casinos, as of 2019. Such casinos are not included in the casino spending figure. There are, however, no commercial casinos in the state.

Wisconsin has also had a state lottery since 1988, one year after voters approved of a measure legalizing the new form of gambling. The state sold over $677 million in lottery tickets in 2019. Per capita, annual lottery ticket spending in Wisconsin totals $149.

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38. Arizona
> Annual lottery and casino spending: $178 per adult ($1.0 billion total)
> Annual casino spending: $0
> Annual lottery spending: $178 per adult ($1.0 billion total)
> State tax revenue from casinos: $0

Arizona has a state lottery and was home to more than two dozen tribal casinos as of 2019. In November 1980, Arizona became the first state west of the Mississippi River to approve a state lottery. The lottery predates gaming on Indian Reservations, which was ushered in by the state’s Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988.

Lottery ticket sales in Arizona totalled $1 billion 2019 — or $178 for every adult resident.

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37. Idaho
> Annual lottery and casino spending: $199 per adult ($265.6 million total)
> Annual casino spending: $0
> Annual lottery spending: $199 per adult ($265.6 million total)
> State tax revenue from casinos: $0

There were a total of 10 tribal casinos in Idaho housing over 3,760 gaming machines in 2019, but were not considered in the casino spending figure. These casinos are prohibited from offering table card games like blackjack or poker, however, and commercial casinos are also not permitted in the state.

While the state’s gambling laws are relatively restrictive, adults in Idaho are permitted to buy lottery tickets, including scratch off tickets and Powerball and Mega Millions tickets. Lottery ticket sales totalled $256.6 million in 2019, or $199 for every adult in Idaho.

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36. New Mexico
> Annual lottery and casino spending: $239 per adult ($387.7 million total)
> Annual casino spending: $150 per adult ($244.1 million total)
> Annual lottery spending: $88 per adult ($143.6 million total)
> State tax revenue from casinos: $112.9 million (1.5% of all tax revenue)

New Mexico had a total of five commercial casinos in addition to 27 tribal casinos in 2019. Each of the state’s five commercial casinos are racinos, a combined racetrack and casino. Unlike tribal casinos, these racinos are not permitted to offer table games. New Mexico is also the only state that restricts hours of operations for its casinos, allowing them to be open a maximum of 112 hours each week. Tribal casinos present considerable competition to commercial casinos, housing more than five times as many gaming machines, but spending at tribal casinos was not considered.

New Mexico also has a state lottery. Adults in the state spent a total of $387.7 million at commercial casinos and the lottery in 2019, equal to just $239 per adult.