Lotteries still strong during economic hardship

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ABC NEWS — It’s one business that’s thriving in this rocky economy – lottery ticket sales.

Two-thirds of the 41 state lotteries that end their budget year in June enjoyed higher sales than the year before, and 17 of those states set all time sales records, according to data compiled by USA Today.

Numerous studies have shown that poor people make up a disproportionate number of lottery players, lured by slogans such as “All it takes is a dollar and a dream.” But there is a bitter debate whether tough times are responsible for surging ticket sales.

In a 2008 study, researchers at Carnegie-Mellon University found that the more impoverished someone feels, the more likely he is to play the lottery.

“Some poor people see playing the lottery as their best opportunity or improving their financial situation, albeit wrongly so,” said the lead author, Emily Haisley, when the study was published. “The hope of getting out of poverty encourages people to buy tickets, even though their chances of stumbling upon a life-changing windfall are nearly impossibly slim and buying lottery tickets exacerbates the very poverty that purchasers are hoping to escape.”

Full Story: State Lotteries Are Booming in Tough Times