States That Spend the Most on Lottery Tickets

Lotteries are hugely popular in the United States. In 2015, American adults spent $66.8 billion on lottery tickets, amounting to about $270 per adult.

It’s not clear what drives such interest on a national scale — whether it’s because of innate optimism or economic desperation. What is clear is that the odds are against the players: in total, state lotteries pay out just over 60% of what they take in. Prizes awarded by state lotteries in 2015 totalled just under $43 billion.

Not every state participates in the lottery — 44 have a statewide system. Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii, Mississippi, Nevada, and Utah are the current exceptions, although bills have been proposed in the legislatures of several of these to change this. Wyoming recently introduced a lottery of its own, but data is not yet available for ticket sales or payouts for the state.

43. North Dakota
> Lottery spending per adult: $44.11
> Total lottery ticket sales: $26 million (the least)
> Adult population: 756,928
> Median household income: $60,557 (9th highest)
> Prizes won per adult: $23.86 (the lowest)

42. Oklahoma
> Lottery spending per adult: $58.20
> Total lottery ticket sales: $172 million (7th least)
> Adult population: 3,911,338
> Median household income: $48,568 (12th lowest)
> Prizes won per adult: $29.77 (2nd lowest)

41. Montana
> Lottery spending per adult: $68.74
> Total lottery ticket sales: $55 million (2nd least)
> Adult population: 1,032,949
> Median household income: $49,509 (23rd lowest)
> Prizes won per adult: $36.26 (3rd lowest)

40. New Mexico
> Lottery spending per adult: $86.46
> Total lottery ticket sales: $137 million (4th least)
> Adult population: 2,085,109
> Median household income: $45,382 (16th highest)
> Prizes won per adult: $47.70 (5th lowest)

39. Nebraska
> Lottery spending per adult: $105.01
> Total lottery ticket sales: $150 million (6th least)
> Adult population: 1,896,190
> Median household income: $54,996 (7th lowest)
> Prizes won per adult: $66.41 (7th lowest)