Who is Buying Mega Lottery Tickets?

Dozens of surveys point to a correlation between lottery players and lower social-economic status. More analysis reveals a different picture.

Lottery players are from all walks of life, and if you come from a family that played the lottery or gifted you with lottery tickets for your birthdays, you are much more likely to play on into adulthood.

The poor are not leading the pack

Many past studies, including a paper published in the Journal of Community Psychology, revealed that lottery players were mostly minorities from low-income families and neighborhoods. More studies have since lived to grapple with the complexities of explaining the connection between poverty and the lottery.

Many researchers believe that participants believe that the lottery is the one thing with equal odds and a level playing field between the rich and the poor.

But it’s not all ‘black and white,’ and living with the belief that the poor and minority are the majority of lottery players would be a statistical fallacy. A 2017 poll by Gallup shows that many lottery players in the US fall into salary categories of between $36,000 and $89,999.

Only a small percentage of those that earn below $36,000 keep up with lottery ticket purchases.

But the poor spend more on tickets than the wealthier

When you look at it in the black and white perspective (minority and majority), studies show blacks gamble fewer times than whites, but that they also spend more money on tickets than the majority.

Indeed, the Gallup survey confirms that when lower-income lottery players buy tickets, they spend far much money than wealthier players. Those who play the lottery online from a lower-income bracket pay more than double on tickets than the wealthiest players.

More affluent lottery players focus on bigger jackpots

Another interesting statistic is how the rich and the poor spend money on lottery tickets.

Those with lower incomes spend more money on small prize games include instant jackpots online and offline.

On the other hand, the rich spread their reach to multistate and international lotteries. They are the big spenders on the Mega Millions and the Euro Millions.

A majority of lottery players are men

These studies and surveys further show that men have a more affinity for risk-taking compared to women. A majority of lottery players are men. A man spends 18.7 days playing the lottery while a woman spends 11.3 days in an average year.

The available explanation for that is the gambling-related socialization that men go through from a younger age. By adulthood, most men are skilled at sports betting, be it football and horse racing, and that culture is easily appropriated to the lotteries.

Young people play the lottery more than adults

Data shows that young people play the lottery almost twice as much as their elderly counterparts. For those in their twenties and thirties, the likelihood of playing the lottery is 70%. That rate dives to 45% for people in their sixties and seventies.

If these numbers are right, how come we rarely hear of young lottery winners? If you look at the news, only the old and elderly seem to be scooping up jackpots. There are many possible explanations for that.

One is the purchasing power of adult lottery players. They are more likely to buy many lottery tickets when they make up their minds to try their luck.

Additionally, the older age groups are less likely to try and hack the patterns in lottery numbers with strategies that flood social media. And they choose their games wisely.

Entertainment versus the desire to win

30 % of lottery players do it solely for enjoyment. These would be one time players with inconsistent gaming habits. A significant majority of lottery players, 70 % play to win. They might try their luck with every draw and follow gaming news.

Everyone knows that the odds are stacked up against them, but more and more people keep buying tickets. Psychologists confirm that there is an irresistible attraction to ‘almost winning.’ For serious gamers, missing the mark only fuels the lust for bigger jackpots in the future.