Massachusetts State Lottery players know the phrase “you have to spend money to make money” well — Bay Staters spend more on the lottery than players in any other state, according to a study by LendingTree.
The online loan marketplace said they surveyed approximately 2,000 consumers across the U.S. to find how much people are spending on the lottery, and whether or not they can afford it.
The organization found that Massachusetts topped spending per capita on the lottery by an absolute landslide, with $805.30 spent per capita in 2020 — the latest available data. The next highest amount spent per capita was New York, with just $455.93 spent per capita in that state.
North Dakota came in last with the amount of money spent per capita on the lottery at just $32.24, and the other New England states trailed Massachusetts with Vermont at $218.53, Maine at $229.87, New Hampshire at $285.91, Connecticut at $366.63 and Rhode Island at $429.88.
Massachusetts also was the number one state where residents spent the biggest share of their personal income on the lottery, spending $10.26 for every $1,000 of personal income on lottery tickets. The next-highest was Georgia, at $8.29.
In Massachusetts, residents won $560.81 per capita for lottery games, meaning they got back $0.70 in lottery prize money for every dollar spent on the lottery — the second-highest of any state, only behind Missouri.
Other New England states had varying results. Maine and Vermont fared well, like Massachusetts, with $0.69 and $0.67 won in prize money for every lottery dollar spent, respectively. Connecticut and New Hampshire were both in the middle at $0.63, and Rhode Island fell at the bottom of the list with just $0.34 won in lottery prize money for every dollar spent.
And, despite spending the most out of every state in the nation, LendingTree said Massachusetts was “arguably the luckiest” when it came to the largest per-capita lottery losses across the states.
Though Massachusetts came in third with $805.30 in lottery sales per capita, $560.81 in lottery prize payout per capita resulting in a $244.49 spending deficit, LendingTree said it was one of the two states with the largest per capita lottery losses that were at the top of the list, and Massachusetts was the luckiest because even though the state spent the most, they did not lose the most.
Rhode Island was at the top of LendingTree’s lottery losses list with a spending deficit of $281.63, and Connecticut was ranked number 10 with a $135.47 deficit. New Hampshire was at $105.22, while Maine and Vermont were within about a dime of each other at $71.62 and $71.51, respectively.
The study found Bay Staters can afford their lottery tendencies, but not by much — Massachusetts residents lost $3.12 for every $1,000 in personal income to the lottery. Rhode Islanders could afford their lottery spending much less, with $4.63 lost for every $1,000 in personal income. Other New England states fared well, with Connecticut losing $1.72, New Hampshire at $1.57, Maine at $1.32 and Vermont at $1.21.
LendingTree researchers analyzed lottery data from the U.S. Census Bureau 2020 Annual Survey of State Government Finance, along with the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) revised 2020 estimates on state personal income, and separately commissioned an organization called Qualtrics to conduct an online survey of 2,033 U.S. consumers ages 18 to 76 on Oct. 18, 2022.