Lottery Retailing

Lotteries have long been popular entertainment. In the Old Testament, Moses is credited with using lotteries to divide land among the people of Israel. The Roman emperors used lotteries to give out property and slaves. Lotteries were also popular dinner entertainment in ancient Rome, when a game called apophoreta was played to determine who would take home a prize. Today, lottery profits have more than tripled since the invention of the game, and many people use them to make a fortune.

Currently, lottery retailing is widespread in the United States. According to NASPL statistics, nearly eighty-six thousand retail outlets sell lottery tickets. Most lottery retailers operate online, and three-fourths sell lottery tickets. Convenience stores make up more than half of lottery retailers. Nonprofit organizations, service stations, restaurants, bars, and newsstands are other common outlets. The New Jersey lottery launched an Internet portal in 2001 to facilitate communications between retailers and consumers.

Researchers at the University of Georgia analyzed a variety of polls and census data to determine the impact of lottery participation on poverty rates. They found that the percentage of lottery play was inversely proportional to education levels. The number of tickets purchased by those with less education played the lottery more often than those with higher education levels. Further, African-Americans were most likely to play the lottery. The study concluded that lottery spending per capita is highest in counties with large populations of African-Americans.