According to a 1989 Harvard University report, “Selling Hope: State Lotteries in America,” lottery participants make a median annual expenditure of $597 compared to other income groups. People with less education are four times more likely to play the lottery than those with higher incomes, and African-Americans are five times more likely than Caucasians to play. The report also notes that lottery outlets are often located in poor areas. While this may seem like a good thing for lottery players, it isn’t really the best approach for the industry.
While a lottery has existed in the United States since the 1970s, not all states have one. For example, the District of Columbia and Hawaii do not allow gambling in their state. Other states, such as Alaska and Wyoming, are hesitant to expand gambling options. However, Mississippi and Nevada have had tremendous growth in casino gambling. A survey in South Alabama found that 52% of people supported a statewide lottery, while a University of South Carolina poll revealed that 75% of respondents supported a state lottery dedicated to education.
In addition to a retail lottery, some states also have incentive programs for retailers to increase ticket sales. In New Jersey, for example, the lottery launched an Internet site where retailers can browse game promotions, ask questions, and access individual sales data. In Louisiana, a lottery retailer optimization program was implemented in 2001. According to this program, lottery officials provide retailers with demographic data that helps them improve marketing and sales. Most states do not limit the number of lottery retailers.