Study: R.I. residents 3rd in lottery spending, last in winning

PROVIDENCE – Rhode Islanders have no lottery luck, according to a new report by Lending Tree. 

The study from the financial website found Rhode Island is the biggest loser in the nation in lottery play. Ocean State residents had a deficit, the amount spent per capita minus prize payouts per capita, of $281.63 while playing the lottery in 2020, and the third-highest sales per capita at $429.88. 

Researchers analyzed the latest lottery data that was available from both the U.S. Census Bureau Annual Survey of State Government Finance and the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis’ revised estimates on state personal income. 

Analysts estimated the amount spent by residents of each state on lotteries (annual ticket sales excluding commissions, plus an assumed 5.5% in commissions), prize payouts and net losses on a per-capita basis.

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The study found Massachusetts residents spent the most on lottery games at $805.30 per capita, followed by New York at $455.93 per capita and Rhode Island. 

Though Massachusetts spent the most on lottery games it also was third in losses, with a $244.49 deficit per capita. West Virginia was second with a $249.81 deficit per capita. 

The study did, however, find Massachusetts residents got back 70 cents in lottery prize money for every dollar they spent on the lottery in 2020. That was the second highest across states that have a lottery, with Missouri in the top spot at 71 cents. Rhode Island was 42nd, at 51 cents, above Oregon, West Virginia and South Dakota. 

Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii, Nevada and Utah do not have state lotteries.