Millions of Americans play the lottery every year.
It’s no surprise why…
The lottery offers a chance to win life-changing money while only risking a few dollars.
This is expected to increase to a massive $194.14 billion by 2025.
The truth is that the lottery is big business.
But how many people actually take the chance? And more importantly – how many people actually win the lottery?
In this blog, we take an in-depth look at the latest lottery statistics in the United States to find out how many people play the lottery and why they do it.
You will be surprised at the results.
What Will I Learn?
Lottery sales in the U.S. have been steadily increasing over the past decade with hundreds of millions of people trying their luck each year. And it doesn’t look like it will slow down anytime soon.
These are the key lottery statistics you need to know:
The lottery is one of the biggest parts of the gambling industry in the U.S. today.
Millions of people can’t look past the chance to win big while risking little – No matter how low their chances of winning really are.
In 1982, the U.S. state and local government lottery industry made a modest $1.7 billion in revenue. But by 1992, this figure had skyrocketed to over $9 billion annually.
Why the dramatic increase?
Most experts believe this was due to the introduction of new state-based lotteries and a rapidly growing awareness and participation among players.
Essentially the lottery became more accessible to more people.
The United States crossed the $20 billion mark for the first time in 2007. That’s a huge $11 billion gain in 15 years.
This number has continued to grow year on year with only a few minor drops.
The biggest decrease was from 2019 to 2020 and was likely due to the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions.
What states are spending the most on lottery tickets?
Florida accounts for about 8.6% of lottery sales in the United States. It is the biggest state by lottery ticket sales at $9.08 billion as of 2021.
This is the complete breakdown of the top 15 states by lottery sales:
|State||Lottery Sales (USD)|
|New York||$8.59 Billion|
|North Carolina||$3.81 Billion|
|New Jersey||$3.68 Billion|
|South Carolina||$2.42 Billion|
New York comes in second place with $8.59 billion, and California gets third with $8.42 billion in 2021. Together the top 3 states make up about 25% of all lottery sales in the U.S.
In the past, New York claimed the top spot with $9.7 billion in ticket sales back in 2020. That is a considerable drop from 2020 to 2021.
Americans spent a massive $105.26 billion on lottery tickets in 2021. This makes the lottery the most popular form of gambling in the United States today.
The bigger the jackpot, the more people will play the lottery.
A recent survey showed that 44% of people play the lottery when there is a bigger jackpot to win.
It makes sense, right…
The bigger the jackpot, the more money you could make.
1 out of 4 players plays the lottery at least once per month. A further 1 out of 4 players buys 5+ or more tickets when there’s a bigger jackpot to win.
The goal is to get more entries to increase the chances of winning.
In fact, just 33% of players will buy only one ticket. That means 2 out of 3 people will buy more than one ticket when they play the lottery.
But how often do people actually play the lottery?
The table below shows the latest lottery statistics on how often people buy tickets and play in the lottery:
|Lottery Playing Habits||Percentage Of U.S People (%)|
|Do Not Play The Lottery At All||20%|
The majority of people (49%) play the lottery inconsistently. These stats show that the biggest lottery player market is more passive.
It’s something they do every now and then.
But what’s interesting is how people choose their winning numbers when buying a lottery ticket.
Almost 70% of people choose completely random numbers when playing with no specific “strategy” of number choosing.
The majority of these people said they use things like-
A small 4% of people said they would use their favourite athlete’s jersey number as part of their lottery numbers.
Most Americans know that they are gambling and use something meaningful to them to influence their lottery number choices.
It’s estimated that 30% of lottery players have some sort of strategic system (if that’s possible) for choosing their lottery numbers.
Now for the big question…
How many people actually win the lottery?
86% of people who have played the lottery have said they have won something at least once.
This doesn’t mean they have won more than they have lost, but they have, at some stage, won something small or big.
In the same survey:
Lottery statistics do reveal that 89% of surveyed winners continue to play the National Lottery after winning once.
70% of players believe they would likely win again.
The addicting thing about the lottery is that once you win – you feel like you can win again. And if you haven’t won yet – you are chasing that win.
This is the cycle that most players get caught in.
54% of lottery players say that one of the first things they would do is quit their jobs if they won the lottery:
But age does have a significant factor in these results.
49% of people aged 55 or older said they would quit their current job and retire if they won the lottery.
What about younger people?
Just 18% of people aged between 18 and 34 said they would quit their jobs after winning the lottery.
The older you are, the more likely you will stop working immediately.
People often think that when you win the lottery, it will cause issues with your close relationships. But real lottery statistics actually say differently.
90% of lottery winners who already had best friends before they won keep these relationships intact.
That shows that winning the lottery isn’t likely to affect your relationship as much as most people think.
About 70% of big lottery winners end up going broke. 44% of winners spend their entire fortune in less than 5 years and file for bankruptcy.
Take a minute to consider those two lottery statistics.
Just because you win the lottery doesn’t mean you are set for life.
Most people don’t know how to manage their money effectively and end up worse off than before.
But more money = more happiness. Right?
The truth is that it’s a lot more complicated than that.
Almost 55% of lottery winners are happier after winning the lottery.
Additionally, 58% of lottery winners’ families also said they were happier because they received financial support from the win.
But 43% of winners say that the money did not affect their happiness either way. This proves that money isn’t everything when it comes to happiness.
Lottery winners are still subject to the same highs and lows as everyone else. But winning the lottery does help some people and their families.
Interestingly, the latest lottery statistics about bankrupt lottery winners showed that a few people reported the new wealth only made their lives more miserable.
If you think winning the lottery will change your life – you are probably right. But it doesn’t necessarily guarantee happiness.
People spend their lottery winnings on lots of different things.
But the majority of people share their winnings with their families. A huge 88% of lottery winners shared their new wealth with at least one family member.
Siblings are the most likely family member to receive some of the lottery winnings. This is closely followed by:
59% of lottery winners will also give a large portion of the money to charity.
Most lottery winners take care of their families first and even donate to charities before turning their attention to “stuff”.
But what kind of “stuff” do they buy?
Clearly, the top priorities are moving and taking a needed break.
Only 3% of lottery winners who have children decided to move their kids from public to private schools. Education is clearly not a top priority for most winners.
RVs are also a popular purchase. 7% of lottery winners buy some sort of RV with their new money.
The highest-ever Jackpot win was $2.04 billion on 8 November 2022.
It was a massive single-ticket win for a Powerball lottery player in California.
The previous largest lottery jackpot win was $1.586 billion in a Powerball game. But this was split by three players.
These are the top 10 biggest jackpot lottery wins ever in the United States:
|Amount (USD)||Date||Lottery Game||Number Of Tickets|
|$2.04 Billion||8 November 2022||Powerball||1|
|$1.586 Billion||13 January 2016||Powerball||3|
|$1.537 billion||23 October 2018||Mega Millions||1|
|$1.35 billion||13 January 2023||Mega Millions||1|
|$1.337 billion||29 July 2022||Mega Millions||1|
|$1.05 billion||22 January 2021||Mega Millions||1|
|$768.4 million||27 March 2019||Powerball||1|
|$758.7 million||23 August 2017||Powerball||1|
|$731.1 million||20 January 2021||Powerball||1|
|$699.8 million||4 October 2021||Powerball||1|
January seems to be the month if you want to win big. 40% of the top 10 lottery jackpots have come from January alone.
These are the biggest claimed jackpots.
But what about unclaimed lottery wins?
The latest state lottery statistics and data also showed that a Powerball ticket worth $77 million went unclaimed in Georgia in 2011.
This is the biggest unclaimed Powerball winner in the United States.
But it’s not the biggest ever worldwide…
In 2010, an unclaimed jackpot of $87 million occurred in the EuroMillions in 2010.
No one has ever stepped forward with the ticket. EuroMillions is Europe’s biggest lottery but can be played online in certain US states.
Over $2 billion in lottery winnings go unclaimed in the United States every year. It’s amazing that many people don’t check or collect their winnings.
All of these stats make it seem likely that you will win the lottery. But don’t be fooled…
You have a 1 in 292.2 million chance of winning the jackpot in the United States Powerball Lottery.
Expressed as a percentage, it’s approximately 0.0000003422%.
To give you more context:
The bottom line is that your chances of winning the lottery are incredibly slim.
Make sure you know the odds before you play.
The lottery is big business.
It is the most significant part of the gambling industry in the United States and has consistently been growing over the last 40+ years.
And that doesn’t look like it is going to change anytime soon.
The truth is that people do win the lottery – but it’s not very many.
If you have daydreamed about winning, you should know that your chances are very slim to extremely unlikely. Know your odds before you start taking part.
Lotteries can be fun, but make sure you know the risks.
And do you want the chance to win the lottery anyway?
With 7 out of 10 major lottery winners ending up broke and worse off than before, it seems that winning has a more negative effect on people’s lives than losing does.
Want more statistics posts? Take a look at these blogs: