LETTER : Big stakes on a lottery win

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The Independent Online
From Dr E. Moran

Sir: As reported by Rebecca Fowler ("Everyone's gone ticket crazy", 6 January), the large jackpot not only attracted new punters to the lottery draw but also resulted in those who had previously bought tickets spending more. The significance of this needs to be emphasised.

The amount of money staked on the weekly draw is not evenly distributed throughout the participating population. In the United States, it has been found that while the expenditure of most ticket purchasers is light or moderate, the major portion of the total amount of money staked comes from a relatively small group who spend large amounts of money. Thus, in California, the 10 per cent of the adult population who purchased most tickets accounted for 65 per cent of the total amount of money staked. The findings of a recent survey conducted in the United Kingdom seemed to be consistent with the American experience.

Clearly, the impact of the generalised increased purchase of draw tickets resulting from the large jackpot is greatest on the group that was already spending the highest amounts. Furthermore, the extensive publicity about the jackpot and other winners obscures the fact that the vast majority of those who purchase draw tickets win nothing, including those who stake large amounts.

Yours faithfully,

E. Moran


National Council on Gambling

London, N14

6 January