These are the states where people spend — and win — the most on lottery tickets: study

With the Mega Millions end-of-year jackpot reaching $685 million, people are once again lining up for their 1 in 302,575,350 chance of becoming a millionaire.

If you’re hoping to hit it big by playing the lottery, you may have more luck depending on where you live, according to a study from LendingTree.

The study found that Massachusetts residents spent the most per capita of their personal income on lottery tickets and scratch-offs in 2020, at $805.30. But they got a better return on their investment than almost every other state: Residents got back 70 cents in lottery prize money for every dollar they spent in 2020 — the second-highest after Missouri (71 cents) and ahead of three states at 69 cents.

In South Dakota, payouts were only 19 cents per dollar spent, below West Virginia (22 cents) and Oregon (23 cents).

West Virginia, one of the states where residents get the least bang for their buck, is the state where people can least afford lottery tickets, the study found.

"The more you spend on it, the more you’re going to lose," LendingTree chief credit analyst Matt Schulz said in the report. "Of course, that doesn’t mean you should never play. A couple of tickets bought every once in a while doesn’t really hurt anything. However, spending too much on lottery tickets too often is a really bad idea. That’s money that would be better used in an emergency fund or going toward a credit card bill."

Rhode Island residents lost the most cash on lotteries in 2020, at an average of $282, the study concludes. That’s after subtracting the amount they won from the amount they spent on tickets.

West Virginia residents came in second on biggest losses at $250. Residents of Massachusetts, where people spend the most on lottery tickets, lost an average of $244.


Woman purchasing scratch off Lottery Tickets at Quic Pic machine in Whole Foods, Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by: Lindsey Nicholson/UCG/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

The states where people lost the least money are the states that spent the least on tickets: North Dakota ($15.69), Wyoming ($17.31) and Montana ($24.60).

Here are the five states where people spend the most on lottery tickets (see the full list here):

  • Massachusetts: $805.30 per capita
  • New York: $455.93
  • Rhode Island: $429.88
  • Georgia: $429.51
  • Michigan: $408.51

Mega Millions jackpot

The Mega Millions grand prize, the last one in 2022, has reached an estimated $685 million with a $347.8 million cash option.

The next drawing is Friday, Dec. 30 at 11 p.m. ET.


Mega Millions sing and lottery tickets are seen at a store in Burlingame, California, United States on December 23, 2022. (Photo by Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

The Mega Millions jackpot has soared past $600 million just five other times in its more than 20-year history, lottery officials said. The record Mega Millions jackpot is $1.537 billion, won in South Carolina in October 2018.

Mega Millions tickets cost $2 per play. Players win the jackpot by matching all six numbers in a drawing. If no one wins the jackpot, the money is added to the jackpot for the next drawing.

FOX’s Kelly Hayes contributed to this report.