Lottery: Georgia Lotto Players Gambled Away The Largest Percentage Of Their Incomes
Georgia residents are the biggest suckers for the lottery in the country, according to Bloomberg's Sucker Index, which ranks states according to how much money residents spend on the lottery relative to their income.
Georgia residents spent about one percent of their incomes -- or $470.73 per person -- on the lottery, according to Bloomberg, which notes that per capita income in the state was $34,800 in 2010, 10 percent lower than the national average.
Why suckers? Bloomberg helpfully reminds readers that state-run lotteries have the "worst odds of any form of legal gambling."
The lottery tends to be most attractive to those living on the tightest budgets. Those earning $13,000 or below spent nine percent of their income on the lottery, according to the Journal of Risk and Uncertainty in 2010.
State governors seem to love the lottery, as it pumps money into education and environmental programs, among others, according to Bloomberg. And while the game may be a boon for state budgets, the lottery has become a "regressive tax" according to some critics, siphoning a disproportionate amount of money from the poorest people.
“It’s a pro-rich wealth-redistribution technique in Georgia,” Charles Clotfelter, a Duke University economics professor, told Bloomberg. The state of Georgia generated $1.258 billion in ticket sales, minus prizes awarded.
“You’re taking from those with few means and helping those with more means,” Clotfelter said.
In today's rough economic climate, lottery officials are increasing efforts to make more revenue through games. Starting Sunday, six New England states are collaborating to sell tickets for new regional games, the AP recently reported.
Massachusetts came out as the second biggest sucker, behind Georgia, as reported by the Bloomberg Index.
Correction: An original version of this story incorrectly stated the amount of money residents of Georgia spent on lottery tickets. Ticket sales in the state, less prizes awarded, totaled $1.258 billion, according to Bloomberg.
Here is a round-up of the top five sucker states, according to Bloomberg: