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The 8 Biggest State Lotteries

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Though virtually unheard of a half-century ago, state lotteries have become a $70 billion industry in the United States. These states have the largest lotteries, ranked by sales.

Though virtually unheard of a half-century ago, state lotteries have become a $70 billion industry in the United States, according to data from the North American Association of State and Provincial Lotteries.

The state-run enterprises offer the public a chance to win large sums of cash. A portion of the proceeds typically goes toward some public use, most commonly education. The first state to add a lottery was New Hampshire, in 1964. A handful of states have only recently dipped into the industry, including Wyoming, which launched its lottery in 2013.

However, lotteries also have a down side. The National Council on Problem Gambling estimates there are 5.77 million Americans who need treatment for a gambling-associated disorder. However, state funding for these programs is sparse. While 44 states have lotteries, only 39 states had publicly funded problem gambling services, according to the NCPG’s 2013 report. Moreover, funding for those programs totaled just $60.6 million—only about $10.50 per problem gambler.

The NASPL tracks state-by-state lottery sales as well as the amount of transfers state lotteries send to the state’s general fund for public purposes like education. Below are the 8 states with the highest lottery revenues in FY 2014, along with their transfers for the year. Also included are problem gambling rates for the state, based on NCPG’s 2013 report.

FY 2014 Sales: $2.9 billion

FY 2014 Transfers: $965 million

Lottery Helps Fund: Public Education

Gambling Disorder Rate: 2.8%

FY 2014 Sales: $3.7 billion

FY 2014 Transfers: $995 million

Lottery Helps Fund: Public Education

Gambling Disorder Rate: 2.2%

FY 2014 Sales: $3.8 billion

FY 2014 Transfers: $1.1 billion

Lottery Helps Fund: Services for the Elderly

Gambling Disorder Rate: 2.4%

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FY 2014 Sales: $4.0 billion

FY 2014 Transfers: $945 million

Lottery Helps Fund: Public Education

Gambling Disorder Rate: 1.7%

FY 2014 Sales: $4.8 billion

FY 2014 Transfers: $971 million

Lottery Helps Fund: Aid to Local Communities

Gambling Disorder Rate: 2.2%

FY 2014 Sales: $5.0 billion

FY 2014 Transfers: $1.4 billion

Lottery Helps Fund: Public Education

Gambling Disorder Rate: 1.9%

FY 2014 Sales: $5.4 billion

FY 2014 Transfers: $1.5 billion

Lottery Helps Fund: Public Education

Gambling Disorder Rate: 1.1%

FY 2014 Sales: $9.2 billion

FY 2014 Transfers: $3.2 billion

Lottery Helps Fund: Public Education

Gambling Disorder Rate: 1.6%


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