As Economy Sinks, Lottery Sales Soar

Consumers tightening belts don't scratch their lottery spending
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 13, 2008 10:50 AM CDT
In this photo provided by the Michigan Lottery, Fred Topous, the latest Mega Millions jackpot winner, displays his lucky Lottery ticket on Tuesday June 17, 2008 in Lansing, Mich.    (AP Photo/Michigan Lottery)
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(Newser) – As the economy falters, one thing people aren’t cutting back on is lottery tickets, the New York Times reports. In fact, higher unemployment rates usually mean higher lottery sales, says one study, and sales are hitting record highs in at least 22 states. “With companies tightening and not giving cost-of-living increases, you have to try to make money elsewhere,” said one regular player.

The economy isn’t the only reason for the rise. There’s also been a marketing push, including new, more expensive games that offer the chance for a bigger payout. And if the slump lasts long enough, the trend might reverse as players get fed up. But for now, as one store owner put it, “Everyone is looking for a rainbow.”