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Rich or Poor: Who Plays the Lottery More?

Most lottery games have prizes that can change one’s life to the point of turning someone poor into a rich, lucky player. However, when someone is already rich, we may ask ourselves if there is any point in spending money in the lottery to become richer. We collected information from studies and revealed here who plays the lottery more!


  • People with less socioeconomic power tend to play the lottery more.
  • The hope for a better life attracts the poorest to the lottery.
  • Rich lottery players tend to play more when the jackpot is high.

What Researchers Have to Say?

Based on the serious research Gambling on the Lottery: Sociodemographic Correlates Across the Lifespan, the fifth with the lowest socioeconomic status in a group of 4,905 adults was also the one that played the lottery the most. To be precise, 61% of them had gambled in the lottery in the past year, while the three top fifths shared the same percentage of 42% to 43%.

Rich or Poor Who Plays the Lottery More

On average, the richest would spend 9 to 10 days playing the lottery in a year, against 26 days of the sector of population with the lowest socioeconomic status. That reality has been around for a long time and is nothing new. A study by the Duke University from the late 1980s indicated that more than half of all lottery tickets sold every week were purchased by the poorest third of households.

By taking a look at the graphs shown by Business Insider, it is clear that the rich tend to play more when the jackpot prizes are higher. Meanwhile, the poorest layers of society tend to see smaller prizes and even lotteries with easier odds and lower prizes as opportunities.

The Economist has published an statistical analysis revealing that the poorest 1% among the average adult, sorted out by zip codes, spend almost 5% of their income on lottery tickets. That is roughly $600 a year in lottery tickets while the wealthiest 1% spend about 0.15% of their income, an average of $150 in tickets, or four times less – even though they have more spare money available.

Total Spent on Lottery Tickets

Why Do Poor People Play the Lottery More?

In accordance with the study Social Explanations of Lottery Play, people with the worst situation in socioeconomic indicators play more because they have hope. They want to fill out the distance between their current social position and a high status, but the lottery looks like the only possible honest way. Despite lottery odds being low, they have a hard time believing that only hard work can fill in that gap to achieve their goals.

There is another study that can help us understand the beliefs that lead people with little money to spare to spend it on the lottery. The Financial Planners Study by the Consumer Federation of America found that more than 20% of Americans, and specifically 38% with incomes below $25,000, see winning the lottery as the most practical way to accrue hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Then, based on all that research material, we can conclude with no risk of being too judgmental that having less financial power makes you try a shortcut to having a more comfortable life. Since the lottery can make that happen, even though the odds can be challenging, people are willing to spend what they have left on tickets.

Don’t Rich People Believe in the Lottery?

The richest portion of the population, according to the studies shown above, do play the lottery but less frequently. Even though they have way more money to spend on entertainment and things like games of chance, they do not. From the material we have analyzed, it is possible to infer that they do not rely on that hope for an improvement in their lifestyle. That alone makes them less prone to playing.

If we are allowed only one conclusion that is not based on well-researched studies, they might play more once they discover lottery sites from abroad. The fact that it broadens possibilities and opens the way to lotteries from other countries might help change that disparity soon.


Can You Win the Lottery Not Spending Much?
According to how the lottery works, you can win the lottery with your first single ticket in your entire life. Therefore, it is not about how much you spend but rather how lucky you are.
Do Rich People Have More Chances of Winning the Lottery?
Considering the only probability that matters in the lottery, which is the number of tickets you cover, we can conclude that the richest portion of society tends to have smaller odds of winning. After all, if they spend less on lottery tickets, they cover fewer numbers.
Are Cheaper Lotteries Better for Players With Little Money?
If you do not have a lot of spare money to spend on tickets but still want to win, it might be a good idea not only to find tickets worth $1 or less but with smaller odds. That way, you have a better chance of winning and might end up spending less.
Can a Poor Lottery Player Become Rich?
Yes, and that is the case for many successful lottery winners who became rich and are still rich. There are many lotteries with prizes in the range of millions, but keep in mind that they are hard to beat.



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