Georgia tops US lottery Sucker Index; jackpot winner’s boneheaded plot foiled

TAGs: Georgia, Lottery, sucker index

georgia-lottery-sucker-indexA New Jersey court has ordered a lottery winner to fork over $20m to the co-workers he tried to prevent from sharing in the jackpot. Portuguese immigrant Americo Lopes belonged to a lottery pool with five other construction company co-workers, but when the group’s lucky numbers came up in Nov. 2009, Lopes neglected to share this news. Instead, he quit his job on the pretext that he’d injured his foot (by trying to fit it into his mouth, no doubt) and waited until the following year before announcing the win, via a ticket he claimed to have purchased after leaving the pool. Trouble was, there was, like, a date on the ticket, and that date didn’t jibe with Lopes’ version of events. On Wednesday, a jury unanimously ruled that Lopes was a liar, and ordered him to give each of his former partners $4m.

Lopes may have tried to play his co-workers for suckers, but ‘regular’ gamblers (sports bettors, poker players, etc.) have long regarded all lottery players as suckers, in that they’ve chosen the type of betting with the worst possible odds. Moreover, state-run lotteries overwhelmingly depend on the participation of citizens lower down on the lower socio-economic ladder. Compare that to online gambling, which despite appealing primarily to an educated, affluent demographic, is the form of betting most often described as ‘predatory’ by politicians out to demonize lottery competition. Physician, heal thyself…

Helpfully, Bloomberg Rankings has published a “Sucker Index” that compared lottery participation rates in 43 states with the amounts paid out by each state’s lotteries, then cross-referenced that with US Census data. The sucktastic crown goes to the state of Georgia, whose residents spent an average $470.73 per year – second only to Massachusetts, who spent nearly twice that sum ($860.70). But Massachusetts residents not only have a much higher average income ($51.3k) than Georgians ($34.8k), they also receive a much higher payout (71.9%) from their lotteries than Georgians (62.9%). Small wonder 72% of Georgians want to bet on the ponies instead. New York ranked third on the index, followed by Michigan and South Carolina. The five least sucky states were Oklahoma, Washington, South Dakota, Montana and North Dakota.

In New York, a two-year-old girl is being credited with helping her mother win $1m. According to the New York Daily News, Queens resident Afsheen Ahsan was at a convenience store checkout when her daughter Anaya tapped the glass at a spot right above a New York Poker scratchoff ticket. Mom took this as a sign, bought the ticket, and is now contemplating all the future conversations she’ll have with her daughter about the size of her allowance. Meanwhile, we think it’s downright shameful that New York allows toddlers to play the lottery. For shame…


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