From Staff Reports
North Carolina’s adults are spending an average of $200 a year on scratch tickets, an investigative report from NC Policy Watch finds – and the state’s poorest counties are also its biggest lottery consumers, including Edgecombe.
The most impoverished counties in North Carolina had the highest per capita lottery sales, an NC Policy Watch review of lottery data found. Out of the 20 counties with poverty rates higher than 20 percent, 18 had lottery sales topping the statewide average of $200 per adult.
The state sold $1.4 billion worth of scratch tickets and number games during the last fiscal year.
Some of the most impoverished counties in the eastern part of the state also had some of the highest per-adult lottery sales. Washington County (21.8 percent poverty in 2000) sold $435.84 worth of tickets per adult, while Tyrrell (23.3 percent poverty in 2000) had $349.79 in sales. Bertie County (23.5 percent in 2000) had $386.64 and Edgecombe (22.9 percent in 2008) had $468.99 in sales per adult.
The 10 highest counties in per capita lottery sales: Bertie, Martin, Lenoir, Wilson, Hyde, Washington, Edgecombe, Halifax, Vance and Nash.
The highest per capita sales were $536.11 is Edgecombe’s neighboring Nash County. The lowest were in Madison County on the N.C.-Tennessee border, with $25.41 in sales for every adult.
The 10 lowest counties in per capita lottery sales: Madison, Clay, Graham, Macon, Swain, Yancey, Watauga, Cherokee, POLk and Yadkin.
Per capita sales were lowest in the western part of the state, and picked up significantly in the eastern stretch of North Carolina.
The NC Policy Watch report, featuring an interactive map with a county-by-county breakdown of lottery sales, is available at www.ncpolicywatch.com. The county map can be viewed at http://www.ncpolicywatch.org/swf/lotterymap/.