Patterns of Lottery Gambling Across the Lifespan
Using data from two national surveys, this article examined patterns of lottery gambling across the lifespan. Using both adolescence and adulthood, this study identified key factors that may explain why some people gamble more than others.
The study found that people in lower socioeconomic status neighborhoods gambled more than those in higher socioeconomic status neighborhoods. This pattern was strongest for instant-win lotteries, but was not clear for progressive prize lotteries.
The pattern of lottery gambling was different for women than for men. Women gambled an average of 11.3 days in the past year, while men gambled 18.7 days.
The rate of lottery gambling was also higher for people who were in the lower third of the SES scale. In fact, the rate of lottery gambling among people in the upper third of the SES scale was almost as high as in the lower third.
Across the life span, the upper third of the SES scale saw a steady increase in mean days gambled on lottery. The rate of lottery gambling among people in the lower third of the SES scale increased, but did not change significantly. The rate of lottery gambling among people in this group decreased after they turned 50.
A study by the Howard Center for Investigative Journalism found that lottery retailers were more likely to be located in lower income neighborhoods. They also found that lottery retailers are disproportionately located in Black and Latino neighborhoods. This pattern may represent an environment conducive to gambling.