How Much Does the US Profit from Lottery Ticket Sales?

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.

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