Does the Lottery Target the Poor?


Although the NGISC report does not provide any evidence that the lottery specifically targets the poor, this would be counter-productive. Lotteries frequently sell tickets outside of neighborhoods where people live. Yet, many of the neighborhoods associated with low-income residents are visited by higher-income shoppers and workers. In addition, these areas typically have few lottery outlets, if any at all. So, the lottery is unlikely to be a primary source of income in these neighborhoods.

• Legality

The legality of lottery is a matter of debate. The lottery is a common pastime in many states, but the right to sell and purchase tickets is still not protected by the Constitution. The Lotteries (Regulation) Act of 1998 empowers states to regulate lottery sales. While government-sponsored lotteries are legal in some states, they are banned in others. However, online lottery is still a grey area. Although these cases are rare, the Supreme Court has allowed states to set their own lottery laws.

While every country has its own gambling laws, it is always wise to check the legality of the lottery you are interested in. The United Kingdom is fairly lenient on lottery syndicates. While you should always check whether your country allows you to participate in a lottery syndicate outside of your home country, many do not. Fortunately, lottery syndicates have become more accessible in recent years, so you can take advantage of them.


Although lottery proceeds are a significant source of revenue, there are also costs associated with its provision. The costs are typically higher than the administrative expenses associated with most taxes. These costs reflect the fact that the lottery is a product, not a tax. For example, lottery profits per dollar raised are less than half that of state sales taxes, but the benefits far outweigh these costs. The costs of lottery play are a reflection of its cost, not its value.

During the first 13 years of the Lottery, retailer commissions were as low as $22 million, or about 5.2 percent of sales. However, in 1998 the legislature increased retailer commissions by 0.5 percent and another one percent in 1999 and 2000. These increases increased Lottery retailer commissions to nearly $30 million, or 6.8 percent of sales, in the latter year. Fortunately, the Lottery has subsequently reduced its retailer commissions to a mere $22.2 million in 2003, or 6.3 percent of its total sales revenue.

Regressivity of participation

The regressivity of participation in lottery draws controversy. Many critics argue that lottery plays unfairly tax the poor. Yet prior academic studies have shown that the level of regressivity does not remain constant over time. In this study, we analyze longitudinal sales data from six lottery states to investigate the extent of this effect. We find that lottery participation is more regressive among those in lower income brackets than among upper-income groups.

The regressivity of lottery participation is also exacerbated by its punitive nature. People with low incomes and a lack of education are particularly affected by lottery tickets. Moreover, their small margins of error means that they cannot survive losing money. We therefore must consider these factors when evaluating the regressivity of lottery participation. However, we must not overlook the fact that lottery games are largely regressive in aggregate.

Impact on education

The purpose of the lottery in state budgets is to increase per-pupil spending. However, the lottery often ends up funneling into other areas such as higher education, reducing need-based financial aid. This can have adverse effects on educational funding in states with large lottery rolls. However, the impact of lottery funds on education is far less pronounced than many people believe. In this article, we examine some of the implications of this policy.

In Florida, the lottery’s impact on education has been smaller than that of other states. According to the Florida Education Association, the lottery increased education spending only slightly, compared to states without a lottery. Education officials believe that legislators allocated less money to education than they should have because lottery players are already more likely to spend the money. But some economists say that the lottery’s impact on education is less apparent. And this is a debate that continues to rage on.