Special Report

States Spending the Most and Least on Gambling

Source: Sean Pavone / Getty Images

25. New Hampshire
> Annual lottery and casino spending: $332 per adult ($366.9 million total)
> Annual casino spending: $0
> Annual lottery spending: $332 per adult ($366.9 million total)
> State tax revenue from casinos: $0

New Hampshire was the first state in the country to have a lottery. The state lottery, which was legalized in 1964, reported $366.9 million in ticket sales in 2019, less than in the vast majority of states with a lottery. However, adjusting for population, per capita lotto ticket sales in the state totaled $332 per adult, more than in all but 14 states.

There are no commercial casinos or tribal casinos operating in New Hampshire. There are, however, bingo, raffle, and poker rooms that brand themselves as casinos. These venues are legally required to be run by charitable organizations.

Source: SeanPavonePhoto / Getty Images

24. Maine
> Annual lottery and casino spending: $405 per adult ($444.6 million total)
> Annual casino spending: $132 per adult ($145.2 million total)
> Annual lottery spending: $273 per adult ($299.5 million total)
> State tax revenue from casinos: $58.4 million (1.2% of all tax revenue)

There was one commercial casino and one commercial racino operating in Maine in 2019. That same year, the state reported $145.2 billion in commercial casino revenue, an all-time record.

In addition, Maine residents spent some $299.5 million on lottery tickets in 2019. Combined spending in Maine on both the lotto and at commercial casinos totaled $444.6 million, or $405 for every adult in the state.

Source: Sean Pavone / Getty Images

23. Arkansas
> Annual lottery and casino spending: $406 per adult ($942.0 million total)
> Annual casino spending: $184 per adult ($426.5 million total)
> Annual lottery spending: $222 per adult ($515.5 million total)
> State tax revenue from casinos: $65.5 million (0.6% of all tax revenue)

Following the implementation of a constitutional amendmendment in November 2018, Arkansas became the 25th state to legalize commercial casinos. A total of three commercial casinos operated in the state in 2019 and reported $426.5 in revenue, generating $65.5 million in tax revenue.

One decade before commercial casinos opened in the state, Arkansas created a lottery. Adults 18 and over can buy lotto tickets, including instant games like scratch offs. Combined lotto ticket sales and casino revenue totalled $942 million in Arkansas in 2019, or $406 for every adult resident.

Source: SeanPavonePhoto / Getty Images

22. Florida
> Annual lottery and casino spending: $425 per adult ($7.3 billion total)
> Annual casino spending: $33 per adult ($574.7 million total)
> Annual lottery spending: $392 per adult ($6.8 billion total)
> State tax revenue from casinos: $201.1 million (0.4% of all tax revenue)

There were eight commercial casinos and racinos in Florida in 2019, and another seven tribal casinos. Commercial casino operations reported $574.7 million in revenue, an all-time high and the 10th consecutive year of growth. Casino spending also generated a total of $201.1 million in tax revenue for the state’s Educational Enhancement Trust Fund.

Florida’s state lottery system generated $6.8 billion in ticket sales in 2019, more than any other state except New York and California. Through both commercial casinos and lotteries, gambling spending totalled $7.3 billion in the Sunshine State in 2019, or $425 for every adult.

Source: EunikaSopotnicka / Getty Images

21. South Dakota
> Annual lottery and casino spending: $431 per adult ($288.3 million total)
> Annual casino spending: $165 per adult ($110.3 million total)
> Annual lottery spending: $266 per adult ($178.1 million total)
> State tax revenue from casinos: $14.9 million (0.8% of all tax revenue)

There were 22 commercial casinos, 13 tribal casinos, and over 1,300 venues with electronic gaming devices across South Dakota in 2019. Patrons of the state’s commercial casinos spent $110.3 million on gaming in 2019, a record high driven largely by electronic gaming machines at casinos in Deadwood. Commercial casino gambling generated nearly $15 million in tax revenue.

South Dakota has also had a state lottery since 1989, and at $178.1 million, lotto ticket sales eclipsed casino spending in the state in 2019. Between commercial casinos and lottery tickets, gambling expenditures in South Dakota totalled $288.3 million in 2019, or $431 per adult.

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