Report: Georgians are ’suckers’ for the lottery

There’s a sucker born every minute, and there’s a good chance he lives in Georgia, according to a recent study. powerball

BloombergBusinessweek reports Georgians are No. 1 at being bad with money, earning the Empire State of the South the top ranking in its latest Sucker Index.

It’s our love of playing the lottery (Reminder: World record $640 million jackpot drawing tonight!) that’s set us up for ridicule.

Americans spend $50 billion a year in tickets for state-run games, which have the worst odds of any form of legal gambling, writes Bloomberg.

Georgia residents spent an average $470.73 on the lottery in 2010, or 1 percent of their personal income, while they received the sixth-highest prize payouts, 63 cents for each dollar spent, the Sucker Index shows. Only Massachusetts had higher spending, $860.70 per adult, more than three times the U.S. average. But Massachusetts players are luckier, they won back 72 cents for each dollar spent.

The article throws salt on the wounds by saying Georgia’s per capita income is about 10 percent below the U.S. average, and that lower-income residents tend to buy a disproportionate amount of tickets.

And we’re not slowing down: The $640 million frenzy prompted Georgians to buy $6.6 million in Mega Millions tickets on Thursday alone, compared to normal Mega Millions sales of around $2 million for an entire week.

How do the Sucker Index rankings work? Bloomberg took the total spent on ticket sales in each state and subtracted the amount of lottery prizes awarded. The difference was divided by the total personal income of each state’s residents.

Using that formula, the top five Sucker Index states are: Georgia, Massachusetts, New York, Michigan, South Carolina.

Georgia Lottery spokeswoman Tandi Reddick said Bloomberg’s story is “demeaning” in a guest editorial appearing Sunday in the Augusta Chronicle.

Reddick said the Georgia County Guide reports that Georgia’s 10 poorest counties accounted for less than 1 percent of Georgia Lottery sales in fiscal year 2009.

That may be true, but I’d surmise the 10 poorest counties in Georgia represent less than 1 percent of Georgia’s wealth as well.

I play the lottery, and will continue to do so. It’s fun to think $1 could become $1 million overnight. If I was poor, I’d probably play more.

Hope, the emotion and the scholarship program, is a powerful thing.

Note: Updated March 30, 2012.

129 comments Add your comment

I'm pretty sure it's my business, not yours

March 19th, 2012
8:51 pm

First, the lottery generated plenty of money for Hope when the proceeds were used ONLY for
college fees, tuition, etc… It started running out of money when pre-K, computers for every high school, etc..were paid for out of lottery funds. As with all good ideas, government (in this case state of Ga government) figured out votes could be bought with dollars. Consequently, the Hope is now running out of money, and the politicians don’t have the spine to cut back to it’s original purpose. Therefore, it will probably eventually fold.
That said, if I want to buy a ticket, it’s no one’s business.


March 19th, 2012
9:06 pm

i played lottery for years. my savings are almost gone & my ten year auto nedds an air conditioner, it’s hot outside, & i’m broke. i know, you’re saying i’m a foll. guess what?
you’re right. the lottery will ruin you if you cannot control yourself. i’m contributing to be a poor idiot.


March 19th, 2012
9:06 pm

Enter your comments here


March 19th, 2012
9:12 pm

i’m contributing to lottery so i can be free from having a decent life. i am in the hole so much, i’ve decided i am a fool. don’t be sorry for a nut like me, try to help someone to understand just how the lottery works. people like me contribute to making the rich more rich, & the poor more poor. this is s fact.


March 19th, 2012
10:43 pm

You are incorrect on a couple of things.
1. The changes to the cashing bonuses for retailers was eliminated by the Governor and the legislator. The GLC had nothing to do with it. In fact, they fought for keeping the 2% cashing bonus for retailers and opposed the other changes that came to be.
2. All GLC employees (including CEO and execs) were stripped of all bonuses and incentive pay.
3. It is not state law nor a GLC policy that you must have two employees working in order to sell lottery.
Please do more research before posting.


March 19th, 2012
10:52 pm

The lottery is how the poor people who don’t pay taxes, pay taxes.


March 20th, 2012
5:58 am

This can’t be true. Although I personally don’t play the lottery, everyone I know who does play, tells me they’ve won more money than they’ve spent. I guess sometimes hope just make people stupid, eh?


March 20th, 2012
6:51 am

fools and money always part company.


March 20th, 2012
7:12 am

the lottery is a big con against African-Americans, who play the lottery most. The money goes to pay college expenses for rich white people while African-Americans are kept down by the system. I’m tired of this.

Hope and a prayer

March 20th, 2012
7:15 am

It’s ludicrous how uninformed some of these comments are…if you’ve got the time to spit banalities, perhaps a lottery ticket is your best hope


March 20th, 2012
8:32 am

The current legislative leadership is both corrupt and incompetent. HOPE will only work if they are ALL gone.

David C

March 20th, 2012
8:38 am

It does seem strange that Hope is losing money yet some much is being taken in. Also keep in mind that 50% of College Freshman lose hope after one year in College. So where is the money going. Also if you look at how much College Expense has gone up in Georgia you will notice it out paces the State around Georgia. Which basically means College are taking advantage of Hope as well with Rate increase…


March 20th, 2012
8:46 am

What have you got to loose other than that dollar, so go ahead and get you a ticket for tonite, because you never know………………………………….


March 20th, 2012
9:26 am

I’m not poor. I live a comfortable life. If the jackpot is over 100 million, i’ll buy a ticket. I know the odds are terrible, but hey, $1 of my money could turn into 100 Million. All these people talking about how lottery players are “suckers”. Maybe…but my chances of winning are better than the poeple that don’t play.
People need to stop insinuating that the lottery is a con against African-Americans. No one is forcing them to play. If i was poor, I would stop buying cigaretts, stop drinking alchohol, and stop playing the lottery. The poor are only making themself poorer.
Side note….Chances of winning mega is like 1 in 176 million. If jackpot gets over 265 million, theoretically you can borrow 176 million, buy every number, win the jackpot, write off losses against winnings, and make a bunch of money. This will only work if only one person wins and you can borrow 176 million. Good luck.


March 20th, 2012
9:28 am

oh yeah, me and my wife’s 4 year degrees were paid for by hope.


March 20th, 2012
10:42 am

I play lottery but I consider it entertainment rathe than gambling. It’s fun to fill some of the spare moments, especially while driving, with thoughts about what I would do with the money. Sure, I can fantasize without actually playing but that small chance gives more ‘flavor’ to the dreaming. A buck is cheap when you consider I may drive 6-7 hours a week.


March 20th, 2012
11:18 am

Gambling is a human weakness. As old as the oldest profession. And it’s here to stay.


March 20th, 2012
11:22 am


A Premium Bond is a lottery bond issued by the United Kingdom government’s National Savings and Investments scheme. The government promises to buy back the bond, on request, for its original price. They were introduced by Harold Macmillan in his 1956 budget.

The government pays interest on the bond (pegged at 1.5% in July 2010). But instead of the interest being paid into individual accounts, it is paid into a prize fund from which a monthly lottery distributes tax-free prizes, or premiums, to those bond-holders whose numbers are selected randomly. The machine that generates random numbers for the lottery is called ERNIE, for Electronic Random Number Indicator Equipment.[1] There are many different prizes ranging from £25 to the top prize of £1,000,000 (between 2005 and 2009, there were two £1m prizes each month and the minimum prize was £50, but prizes were reduced after the large 2009 drop in interest rates). Investors can purchase bonds at any time; bonds need to be held for a full calendar month after the month in which they are bought, e.g. purchase in January, eligible for March. Numbers are entered each month, with an equal chance of winning any prize, until the bond is cashed in.

The prize draw is conducted so that the winners of the jackpot can be notified on the first working day of the month, although the actual date of the draw varies for administrative reasons. The online prize finder[2] is updated by the third or fourth working day of the month.

From 1 January 2009 the odds of winning a prize for each bond number held was 36,000 to 1. In October 2009, the odds returned to 24,000 to 1 with the prize fund interest rate increase.[3] Around 23 million people own Premium Bonds,[citation needed] over one third of the UK population. Each person may own up to £30,000 in Premium Bonds. Bonds can now be purchased by the £1 after the first £100, with a value of £1 per bond and a minimum purchase of 100 bonds (or 50 bonds when paying by standing order). When they were first introduced in 1957 they were very popular — perhaps because the only other similar games of chance available to the general public were the football pools; the National Lottery did not exist until 1994. In Ireland, a similar investment scheme called Prize Bond also originated in early 1957.

Bill W

March 20th, 2012
12:11 pm

Yeah and both countries are FLAT BROKE. Good idea.

Sam H

March 21st, 2012
7:57 pm

Hey Spinoza,

Yeah…there is no mindlessness or corruptioin in the DNC or the Democrat party.

Dems are all just angelic do-gooders looking out for the little guy.

What a tool you truly are.


March 30th, 2012
12:45 pm

How can anyone expect to win this thing? It is ridicu….Wait!. Is that a grizzly bear and a Polar bear running at me ???? Gotta go


March 30th, 2012
1:11 pm

I spend 0.0325% of my family’s annual income on Megamillions plays. Am I stupid, or just having a little fun?


March 30th, 2012
1:25 pm

You’re having a little fun, Ekim. But the radical wings on both sides (left and right) have declared war on fun. Be forewarned! ;-)


March 30th, 2012
2:44 pm

All I have to say is if spending (only) $1 for a chance to win $640 (+) million before taxes makes me a “sucker”,then call me a “sucker”.


March 30th, 2012
3:32 pm

I spent $1 today on a ticket. I am not stupid and would never waste my household income by spending $10, $20, $50 or more on lottery tickets and pipe dreams.


March 30th, 2012
4:23 pm

Just look at the single brain cell organisms that are buying the tickets is really all you need to know. What a bunch of idiots??? You wonder why our education system is in such horrible shape. Idiot adult’s raise and teach idiot kids. Surprise….

Mountain Man

March 30th, 2012
4:38 pm

I’ll drop $5 for some tickets today. Consider it a donation to the Hope Scholarship. It’ll be the first time I’ve bought lottery tickets in over 15 years. I don’t usually waste my hard-earned cash.

You people betting your futures on winning the jackpot? Stupid doesn’t even begin to describe you. If you were discontent before winning, you will be discontent after winning. If you are content with your life before winning the lottery, you will be content after winning it. Money doesn’t change a person’s personality. If you squandered money before, you will p@ss it away after winning. If you were frugal before, you will most likely enjoy you good fortune afterward.

April 2nd, 2012
6:37 pm

till. me how 2. hit the number. please.


April 28th, 2012
8:18 am

I was visiting in your state recently, i was amazed to see so many people standing in lines to buy lottery tickets. they looked very happy standing in those long lines. Its braining washing at it best.