Myth Debunked

A common misconception about state-sponsored lotteries is that they prey on disadvantaged groups such as the poor and less educated. However, a recent Gallup Poll focusing on national lottery play found that this belief is not true.

Who Plays?

Roughly half of Americans (49 percent) say they have bought a state lottery ticket in the past year.

How Much Do They Make?

Just 40 percent of lower income Americans - earning less than $36,000 annually - bought a ticket, while 56 percent of Americans in a higher income bracket - earning between $36,000 and $90,000 annually - bought tickets. Additionally, 53 percent of those earning $90,000 or more played the lottery.

What's Their Education Level?

Only 47 percent of those with a high school education or less purchased a lottery ticket last year, while 53 percent with a technical degree, some college or a college degree bought lottery tickets. Americans with a postgraduate degree also play, with 45 percent reporting they bought tickets last year.

These results support similar Gallup Poll results from 1999, 2004 and 2007. They also mirror tracking study results conducted by the Missouri Lottery, which found that Missourians who make more money and those with higher levels of education are more likely to purchase tickets.