State Lotteries No Longer Recession-Proof


Slim odds have prevented many of us from playing the lottery, and now the economy has more Americans resisting the urge to put $5 on the Super Lotto. With retirement savings down the drain and an uncertain job market, people aren't as willing to take a chance on the lottery.

Nationwide, state lottery sales fell about $215 million in the past few months compared to the same time last year. More specifically, they're down by about 10 percent in California and 4 percent in Texas. John W. Kindt, a gambling critic and business professor at the University of Illinois, said the decline in lottery sales "is an unusual phenomenon." Previously, state lotteries have not been affected by economic recessions.

While it's positive that Americans are being more cautious with their spending, the government programs that typically benefit from lottery sales will receive less money than in recent years. Education programs are the most common recipients of lottery proceeds — in states like CA and TX, these programs have seen about $1 billion in funding from lottery sales alone.

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