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Do Lotteries Exploit the Poor? Not as Much as You Might Think

Do national and multi-state lotteries like the Powerball take advantage of low-income players?
That’s a long-held notion that’s trotted out whenever the Powerball starts climbing past the $500 million mark, only there’s just one little problem with that idea. According to a recent Gallup Poll, that idea might not actually be true.
The new survey, which polled 1,025 American households, busted more than a few myths about America’s obsession with big-ticket interstate lotteries.
For starters, the survey said that a mere 40% of all participants earning under $36,000 bought a lottery ticket in the last year. That compares with 56% of households earning $36,000 to $90,000 that purchased lottery tickets.
Educational levels painted a similar picture of how the poor and uneducated view the lottery. Gallup found that only 47% of survey participants who had only a high school education had purchased tickets last year. Around 53% of players with a college education participated.
The lowest group, by education anyways, were eggheads. Only around 43% of Americans with post-graduate degrees found their way to their local convenience store to pick up a Powerball ticket.
There are, however, a few places where all demographics of lottery players intersect. For example, only around 7% of all participants, no matter how much they earn, would cop to a problem with gambling.
That said, approximately 11% of low income Americans admitted to spending more than they should on lottery tickets.
Finally, Americans of all stripes can join together knowing that no matter how much or how little they earn, their chances of actually winning the Powerball are extremely small. The odds of picking a Powerball winner are 1 in 292,201,338.00.