Georgia lottery players ranked biggest 'suckers' in U.S.

  • Follow Metro

NEW YORK — Georgia’s lottery players are the biggest suckers in a nation that buys more than $50 billion a year in tickets for the state-run games, which have the worst odds of any form of legal gambling.

Players in Georgia, whose per capita income is about 10 percent below the U.S. average, are doing the most damage to their personal finances compared with lottery-playing habits in other states, according to the “Sucker Index” created by Bloomberg Rankings. While the state had the sixth-highest prize payouts, 63 cents for each dollar spent, consumers spent the second-highest chunk of their income on the lottery, which funds scholarships and prekindergarten.

Of the 43 states with lotteries, 26 had higher sales last fiscal year, helping to make up for lower taxes and federal aid. Governors used the revenue for programs from education to environmental protection. The pot comes disproportionately from lower-income residents, who shelled out a larger percentage of their pay on the games than wealthier people, according to a study in the Journal of Behavioral Decision Making.

“It’s a pro-rich wealth-redistribution technique in Georgia,” said Charles Clotfelter, a Duke University economics professor and co-author of Selling Hope: State Lotteries in America. “To link that tax revenue to a benefit that goes largely to middle-and upper-class citizens is a little stunning,” he said.

In 2010, Georgia residents spent an average $470.73, or 1 percent of their personal income, on the lottery, the Sucker Index shows. Only Massachusetts was higher, with spending of $860.70 per adult, more than three times the U.S. average. Georgia had per capita income of $34,800 in 2010, below the national average of $39,945, while Massachusetts’s was higher at $51,302, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Massachusetts players were the biggest lottery winners, getting back almost 72 cents on the dollar.

Bloomberg Rankings created the Sucker Index with 2010 data from the U.S. Census and annual reports from state lottery commissions, which include multi-state games. The total dollar amount of prizes awarded was subtracted from ticket sales, and then the difference was divided by the total personal income of each state’s residents.

Georgia’s lottery law says the state should contribute “as near as practical” to 35 percent of the proceeds to prekindergarten and the HOPE scholarships. A share that large was last transferred in 1997, according to a state audit.

TOP 10

States ranked on the “Sucker Index” created by Bloomberg Rankings, using data from 2010:

1. Georgia

2. Massachusetts

3. New York

4. Michigan

5. South Carolina

6. New Jersey

7. Maryland

8. Ohio

9. Pennsylvania

10. Florida

Comments (5) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
avidreader
2933
Points
avidreader 03/15/12 - 05:39 am
2
0
Let's look at the positive

Let's look at the positive side: People are actually paying taxes without a refund at the end of the year. However, I have to avoid the Circle-Ks between 4 and 7 pm on Fridays.

TParty
6003
Points
TParty 03/15/12 - 08:14 am
0
0
"which funds scholarships and

"which funds scholarships and prekindergarten."

This is important and the reason why I don't like the word sucker.

allhans
22970
Points
allhans 03/15/12 - 08:20 am
0
0
The amount per capita ...Wow!

The amount per capita ...Wow!

Little Lamb
43412
Points
Little Lamb 03/15/12 - 08:44 am
0
0
Is this guy bitter or

Is this guy bitter or what?

“It’s a pro-rich wealth-redistribution technique in Georgia,” said Charles Clotfelter, a Duke University economics professor and co-author of Selling Hope: State Lotteries in America. “To link that tax revenue to a benefit that goes largely to middle-and upper-class citizens is a little stunning,” he said.

What would Clotfelter propose to change?

twolane
191
Points
twolane 03/15/12 - 10:32 am
0
0
and this report comes to you
Unpublished

and this report comes to you from new york a place where taxes are sooo high you pay 17 dollars for a pack of cigarettes and we are SUCKERS BAHAHAHAHAHAH

cytoranger
6
Points
cytoranger 03/15/12 - 06:42 pm
0
0
Id say maybe the winners

Id say maybe the winners would get off ebt and welfare but that chick up north blew that theory for me last week

Back to Top

Top headlines

Body found in Clark Hill Lake

About 4 p.m., the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office responded to a call that a white male, around 35-years-old, had been found near the Chamberlain's Ferry Boat landing area, according to Lincoln ...
Loading...