Last Friday we told you about information we obtained from the Arkansas Lottery Commission showing that Arkansas’ lottery is played heavily in our poorest counties. KARK News in Little Rock interviewed staff member Josh Mesker about the story Friday afternoon. You can see his interview here.
Cutting Through the Lottery Spin
Lottery officials are playing spin doctor with the numbers again, and we want to set the record straight. In response to our story, Lottery officials pointed out that many of the counties who top the list in gross ticket sales are very affluent. That is true. But take another look at the numbers. Counties like Benton and Washington make the top ten list in gross ticket sales, but their per capita sales are below average. Walmart’s corporate headquarters is based in that part of the state; if the lottery were only played by people with disposable income, we would expect to see their per capita sales at least tracking with the state average, but they aren’t.
Compare that with Jefferson and Nevada counties, where more than 20% of the population lives below the poverty line and per capita sales are through the roof, and it’s plain to see there’s a direct correlation between poverty and lottery ticket sales.