A look at lottery demographics and the people who play
Did you know that as a lottery player, “who you are,” is extremely important in the lottery operator’s decision on what lottery games to offer to the public and how to advertise and promote those games? Did you know that your age, gender, income, where you live, and other personal information is crucial for you to be able to play the lottery?
It is so true, because you and your information fall under the category of Demographics, or the study of the statistical characteristics of wide, general, or specific human populations used to identify targeted markets in a company’s design and marketing ventures. Lottery operators use Demographics to design new games or market current games to certain players. Therefore your personal demographic information drives you to what lottery games you tend to play.
In a 2012 study. researchers from the University of Buffalo analyzed data from a telephone survey from a sampling of about 5,000 Americans in two parts, one with people aged 14 to 21 and with people 18 and over. The results are quite interesting:
• Non-Hispanic whites and Native Americans had the highest proportion of lottery play at 51% for each group.
• Those within the lowest fifth in terms of socioeconomic status had the highest rate of lottery gambling at 61%.
• Lottery play in any given year increases for people in their twenties and thirties, with about 70% of those in this age group playing the lottery. For people in their forties, fifties and sixties it drops down to about two-thirds of these people playing the lottery, and for people 70 and older it then declines to about 45%.
• Men play more frequently than women do.
This shows that white or Aboriginal men with a lower yearly income and from about 20-39 are the biggest demographic that lottery operators might choose to target in game design and marketing.
However, data from the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) the Ontario demographics are different. From 2021 data, 38% of Ontario adults are current lottery players, representing approximately 4.6 million lottery players and tend to be 35 or over, male, community college educated, working full time outside the home or retired and to have somewhat higher household income levels as the data below shows:
Those under 35 years of age – 15%
Those 35-54 – 39%
Those over 55 – 46%
Representing an average age of the typical lottery player of 52 years old.
Male lottery players – 51%
Female lottery player – 48%
Other or prefer not to say – 2%
High school education or less – 20%
Community college education – 34%
University or post graduate education – 44%
Those working full-time outside the home – 55%
Those working part-time – 7%
Those who are retired – 26%
Those who are homemakers – 3%
Those who are students – 7%
Those who are currently unemployed – 10%
Those with income under $50,000 per year – 19%
Those with income$50,000-$99,000 per year – 29%
Those with income$100,000 and over per year – 34%
Those with income not stated or who proffered not to answer – 19%
Representing an average income of $119,000 per year
Why such a big difference in who plays the lottery the most? Likely it is a combination of both the passage of nine years between studies and the increase in males who are better educated and making more money in today’s economy. Throw in COVID-19 restrictions, and today’s players’ are quite different from those nine years ago.
These are very interesting demographics to be sure. How about some more statistics? Did you know women are more likely than men to play scratchcards than draw lotteries? And that younger women were more likely than older women to play scratches?
So what lottery operators do with all this data is to use it to design lotteries that are particularly interesting to a certain demographic of the lottery playing public. So if they want to target women 18-35, they may create a lottery (or scratch ticket) with a kitten theme to attract that demographic of player. Or they might make a “Wall Street” type theme to attract affluent young male players.
Your demographic data is important to operators to be able to offer you lottery games that speak to your gender and age, location where you live, and how much money you make. So next time you play the lottery, see what graphics and colours, sounds, and other aspects of the lottery that seem to be geared towards your subconscious preferences because your choice in what lottery draw or scratch game you play may not be a totally unassisted and independent decision.
(As an example, for the ladies, casinos buy kitten-themed slot machines to cater to your female demographics. However, studies have shown that more men then woman play kitten-themed slots. Go figure. Sometimes demographic marketing can find a sector that no one ever thought existed.)