[Source: Keith Matheny, USA TODAY] – Despite a struggling economy — or perhaps because of it — lottery ticket sales have surged across the USA. Financial records for 41 state lotteries that end their fiscal year in June show 28 had higher sales than the year before. Seventeen of those states set all-time sales records.Kate Sweeny, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of California-Riverside, said an uptick in lottery sales largely occurs when people feel a lack of control over events larger than themselves, such as the economy.
Jeff Anderson, head of the executive committee of the North American Association of State and Provincial Lotteries, which represents 52 lotteries in the USA and Canada, said sales growth most often reflects changes in lottery games.”In general, the play is inexpensive entertainment,” said Anderson, who is also director of the Idaho State Lottery. “I have not seen any empirical evidence that indicates in a down economy, people play more.” Yet that’s just what a 2004 Cornell University study found. “We see that lottery sales go up as the economy gets bad — but we don’t see people spending more on relatively inexpensive other forms of entertainment,” said Garrick Blalock, associate professor of economics at Cornell and a co-author of the study[to read the full article click here].