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How much money do Americans spend on lottery tickets?

August 29, 2019

And the winning numbers of tonight’s lottery are…

We love the thrill of a chance to win big, but who spends the most for this gamble? People ages 65 to 74 spent the most on lottery tickets and pari-mutuels (betting pools), spending an average of $132.43 from the third quarter of 2017 to the second quarter of 2018. This is almost twice as much, or even more, than the amount spent by any of the other age groups.

Average lottery and pari-mutuel expenditures by age group, third quarter 2017 through second quarter 2018

Age group

Average expenditures

All ages

$69.52

Under 25 years

7.55

25-34 years

40.32

35-44 years

62.08

45-54 years

77.04

55-64 years

63.20

65-74 years

132.43

75 years and older

74.29

Households with incomes in the fourth 20 percent spent the most on lottery tickets and pooled betting, spending an average of $94.72 from the third quarter of 2017 through the second quarter of 2018, compared with $69.52 for all households. The next big spenders were households with incomes in the second 20 percent spending an average of $81.98.

 Average lottery and pari-mutuel expenditures by income group, third quarter 2017 through second quarter 2018

Income group

Average expenditures

All households

$69.52

Lowest 20 percent

32.94

Second 20 percent

81.98

Third 20 percent

64.55

Fourth 20 percent

94.72

Highest 20 percent

73.37

These data come from the Consumer Expenditure Surveys and measure how much consumers spent for lottery tickets and lost on pari-mutuels, not how much money consumers placed on a bet. Households, or consumer units, include families, single persons living alone or sharing a household with others but who are financially independent, or two or more persons living together who share expenses. 

SUGGESTED CITATION

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, How much money do Americans spend on lottery tickets? on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2019/how-much-money-do-americans-spend-on-lottery-tickets.htm (visited November 25, 2020).

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