With the majority of states in the United States operating state lotteries, lottery ticket sales are brisk throughout the country. In 2010, citizens spent a little more than $53 billion US Dollars (USD) on the tickets. For the same year, a little less than $33 billion USD was paid out in prizes to winning ticket holders. After allowing for administrative costs of about $2.5 billion USD, this left the states with $17.5 billion USD in profits.
More facts about lotteries in the U.S.:
- A total of 43 states, plus the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands are all home to government-approved lotteries. The mix of lottery tickets include scratch-off tickets for instant wins, lotto prizes and even a range of daily prizes. Each state or territory that has a lottery operates its own lottery website, and the U.S. government maintains a website that has links to each of the lottery sites that are operated by individual states and territories.
- The seven states that do not have state lotteries — Alabama, Mississippi, Utah, Nevada, Wyoming, Hawaii and Alaska — have all voted at least once on the issue of a lottery, with the measure sometimes being narrowly defeated.
- The U.S. government operates a type of lottery that is different from the state lotteries. Operated by the Department of State, the Diversity Visa lottery is conducted annually and awards a total of 55,000 permanent resident visas to immigrants from countries that have relatively low immigration rates to the U.S. This annual lottery is sometimes known as the green card lottery.