how many people buy lottery tickets

Lottery Demographics

The lottery has become a huge part of British culture since its launch in 1994, and a part of our history for far longer than that. But who, exactly, takes part? We’ve combed the internet for the facts and figures behind those weekly lottery draws to find out.

How Many People Do The lottery?

It turns out a staggering 70% of the UK’s over 18s take part in the national lottery on a regular basis, which is close to 45 million people. (That’s about the same amount of people that live in Ukraine.) On top of that at least 50% of the overall population do more than once a month, and on average they buy a minimum of 3 tickets each week.

January 6th, 1996 saw the very first double rollover in the United Kingdom, prompting a staggering 86% of the population of Britain to dash out to buy a ticket! In fact the lottery is so popular in the UK that even our dear old Queen has had a go, and banked £10 on the very first lotto draw. Leading to host of happy headline writers who could run with “One’s Won” the following day.

Take a look at the infographic we’ve designed which goes into details on just who buys lottery lines and scratch-cards on both sides of the pond:

Note: these are statistics for the main draws, not for betting online with Lottoland using one of our betslips.

Lottery Demographics

The demographic of lottery participants is far broader than one might expect. For starters it is an even split between men and women, at least in the United Kingdom.

Of 18 to 25 year olds, roughly 1/6 of this age range do the lottery at least once a month. Between the ages of 25 and 34 around 1/3 buy a ticket, while half of over 35s partake in a lottery draw at some point during any given month. Studies have shown that if you are upper and middle class, you are less likely to partake in a lotto draw than someone who is working class. And finally… people on benefits are 4% more likely to buy a ticket than those who are not.


Just under 1/4 of British citizens buy a scratchcard at least once a month, while over 50% buy one at least once in a calendar year. That shows that all of us like to scratch that itch, at least once in a while! When it comes to age groups, 55-64 year olds were the most likely to purchase a scratchcard, with 31% of that age range picking up at least one a month.

Here at Lottoland we offer a range of instant win scratchcards, with top prizes on offer going into the millions – quite a bit bigger than you will find on the card you pick up in your local shop!

What Happens After You Win?

85% of lottery winners never reveal their identity, which means we are unable to account for a vast proportion of them. However, we do know that over 90% of winners continue to buy tickets even after they have won. And of those winners, 70% of them are convinced they will win again. What motivates the other 30% is unknown!

Here’s a little bonus fact for you: Over 10,000 people use the numbers 1,2,3,4,5,6 every week in the UK. What this means is that if these numbers were to be drawn, a jackpot of 5 million would pay each member just £500.


57% of the American population, 181 million people, buys at least one lottery ticket in a year. Unlike in the UK, American men are more likely than American women to pick up a ticket, especially if they don’t live alone, as findings reveal single Americans spend less on the lottery than people with partners or families

In the states, 30-64 year olds are the demographic that purchases the most lottery tickets, while participants aged 50-64 spend the most per week, an average of $6.72. If you’re 18-29, or over 65, you are statistically less likely to buy more than one ticket. Speaking of money, if your income is between £30,000 and £50,000 you are in the demographic of Americans that buys tickets for lotto draws the most often.

In the run up to the mega $1 billion PowerBall draw, 1 and a half tickets were sold for every resident of the state of California. The draw was eventually won by Florida resident Gloria MacKenzie, making her the world-record holder for the largest single-ticket lottery jackpot win.

It’s the most popular forms of gaming with a huge chunk of the population over 18 taking part. We look at the people who enjoy the lottery and scratch-cards in the UK and US.

Bought Mega Millions Tickets? Here’s What You Could Have Made If You Invested That Money Instead

A lucky ticket-holder won the record-breaking Mega Millions jackpot of about $1.6 billion in Tuesday night’s drawing, lottery officials said. The winning numbers — 5, 28, 62, 65, 70 and Mega Ball 5 — matched a ticket bought in South Carolina, according to Mega Millions official.

But that leaves plenty of lottery losers who won’t see a return on their Mega Millions investment. That’s money, many would argue, that could have been better invested.

Americans spend a lot of money playing the lottery. Approximately 370 million lottery tickets were sold between Saturday and Tuesday before the Mega Millions drawing, according to a lottery official. The U.S. generated nearly $73 billion in lottery sales in 2016 and CNN reports that in 2017, U.S. residents spent about $73.5 billion on tickets. The average American spends about $223.04 per year on lottery tickets, loan marketplace LendEDU found in a report that calculated its average by dividing the 2016 lottery revenue by the U.S. population (325.7 million).

How much a person earns from the lottery depends on many factors, including the odds of the lottery and the number of tickets they bought. While a $2 lottery ticket could represent the chance for an instantaneous life of luxury, the chances of winning millions in a jackpot are pretty low. In fact, lottery officials in recent years changed the odds to lessen the chance of winning, leading to higher and higher jackpots like this Mega Millions.

But could investing the money that normally goes toward lottery tickets still make a person rich?

According to some financial experts, such a scenario is possible. Although it’s unlikely to make anyone a multi-millionaire, investing lottery ticket funds could yield tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars later in life. Jeanne Fisher, a senior financial advisor at ARGI and CFP Board ambassador, says putting the $223.04 a year that would normally go toward a lottery ticket into an S&P 500 index fund could give a person about $259,000 at the end of 50 years, assuming they get a 10% return, which has historically been the market average. Invest that money into a 30-year treasury note and earn back about $86,145 at the end of 50 years.

A person can even put the money into a CD, a savings account with an interest rate where you can deposit money for a predetermined amount of time, which is statistically much more likely to bring in more money than a lottery ticket, says Bill Wilson, a Wall Street veteran who spent more than 30 years in the financial services industry. If you put $18.59, or the average amount people spend monthly on lottery tickets, into a CD that pays a 2% return, you could earn about $1,174 in five years, Wilson says.

Of course, the buzz around the $1.6 billion Mega Millions jackpot led plenty of people to buy tickets even when they normally would use their money for other things. According to a 2016 Gallup poll, about half of Americans play lotteries in their state. Lottery tickets are also most frequently purchased among lower-income households. Households at the lowest-income bracket spend about $412 a year on lottery tickets, which is about four times the amount that highest-earning households say they spend, a 2018 Bankrate report finds.

Fisher said most Americans probably spend somewhere around $10 a year on lottery tickets when jackpots get bigger.

“The reason the lottery gets so much excitement is because the average American is willing to risk $2 for the chance of hundreds of millions of dollars,” she says. “This is a game, even if you know the chances of winning aren’t that high.”

Wilson concurs. A person can absolutely put their money in a diversified portfolio and earn an average of 7% on it every year, he says. “But there’s a degree of entertainment in purchasing a lottery ticket. It’s entertaining.”

Correction, Oct. 25.

The original version of this story misstated the name of the company ARGI. It is ARGI, not Agri.

The average American spends about $223.04 per year on lottery tickets. Here's what that could yield if invested in an index fund or CD ]]>