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The Distributional Burden of Instant Lottery Ticket Expenditures: An Analysis by Price Point

This article examines the distributional burden of different price-point instant lottery games. Theoretical reasons exist for expecting higher-priced instant lottery games to be less regressive than lower-priced instant games. Using county-level data on sales by price point for six states, the empirical results show that higher-priced instant games are less regressive than lower priced games. In addition, regressivity is rejected in favor of proportionality for some instant lottery games. The analysis also reveals that counties having a higher-percentage of low-income households have higher sales of lower-priced instant games, but differences in the distribution of household income have no significant impact on higher-priced instant sales. Taken together, the findings suggest that large differences in the distributional burden of individual instant games are masked if aggregated instant-lottery sales data are used.

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