From Delaware’s unwavering fascination to California’s tepid interest, the United States’ obsession with the Powerball lottery varies significantly. This study presents an “Obsession Index” that quantifies the interest in the Powerball lottery by state based on ticket sales and online search behavior.
The Most Powerball-Obsessed States By The Numbers
The Powerball, a multi-state lottery game, has been captivating the United States since its introduction in 1992. While the dream of hitting the jackpot is universal, the level of “obsession” with the game varies significantly from state to state. This study looks into which states are the most Powerball-obsessed and explores potential reasons for this obsession.
If we look at sales, Florida, California, Texas, and New York are the Powerball powerhouses. However, with the exception of Florida, their obsession indexes are low because the index looks at the per capita sales, not total sales.
Top Three Powerball-Obsessed States
Delaware: Leading the Pack
Topping our list, Delaware has an obsession index of 100, which means it is the state with the highest level of engagement with the Powerball lottery and serves as a baseline for the index.
New Hampshire: A Close Second
Not far behind, New Hampshire records an obsession index of 92, making it the second most Powerball-obsessed state in the nation.
North Carolina: The Bronze Medalist
North Carolina snags the third spot in the Powerball obsession index with a score of 75, cementing the East Coast’s dominance when it comes to Powerball obsession.
The Least Obsessed States
At the opposite end, we find Vermont, Washington, and California, with respective obsession indexes of 22, 18, and 16, suggesting a lesser enthusiasm for the Powerball lottery compared to other states. This doesn’t mean states with a low index don’t have significant Powerball ticket sales. For instance, California, which has the lowest obsession index, has the second-highest volume of sales.
Methodology Behind The Obsession Index
The Obsession Index uses a simple yet effective method to quantify the extent of each state’s interest in the Powerball lottery. It’s all about comparing and contrasting per capita ticket sales and online search volume.
Calculating the Index
The Obsession Index ranges from 0 to 100. A score of 100 is given to the state where per capita ticket sales and Powerball online searches have the highest ratio. The index measures the average Powerball ticket sales per person and the percentage of all searches that are about Powerball, not the total number of Powerball sales or searches by state.
So, a smaller state where 80% of all searches are about the Powerball lottery would score twice as much as a larger state where only 40% of the searches are Powerball-related. In other words, high scores mean a higher percentage of Powerball searches, not necessarily more total searches. This means the index is not disproportionately influenced by differences in population or internet usage between states.
States Without the Powerball Lottery
The states that don’t allow the sale of Powerball lottery tickets include Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii, Nevada, and Utah. The interest in the Powerball lottery in these states varies dramatically. Although they don’t have an “Obsession Index” (because they technically don’t have sales), that doesn’t mean people in those states don’t search for Powerball lottery information and buy tickets from neighboring states.
The graph below ignores Powerball ticket sales and focuses exclusively on the percentage of total online searches that are related to the Powerball lottery.
Alabama: High Obsession Despite No Lottery
Alabama is one state that stands out on this list. Even though it does not have a Powerball lottery, it exhibits a notably high search obsession index of 87. This might indicate a high interest in lotteries in general, which could stem from neighboring states like Georgia and Florida, where lottery games are popular.
Alaska: Low Obsession, High Income
On the opposite end, Alaska has the second-lowest search obsession index of 20. The state’s lack of a state lottery is an obvious reason for the low obsession index. Having a high median household income ($77,790) and no neighboring states that sell it also contribute to this low interest.
Hawaii: Paradisiacal Indifference
Another state without Powerball, Hawaii, also showcases a low obsession index of 18, the lowest on the list. Despite a high median household income of $83,173, the island state’s unique culture, coupled with stringent gambling laws, might contribute to this minimal interest in lotteries.
Nevada: Betting on Other Games
Nevada, which is known for its vibrant gambling industry, does not have the Powerball lottery and exhibits a modest obsession index of 45. With a well-developed gaming industry, it is possible that residents prefer other forms of gambling over the lottery.
Utah: Cultural Influence
Utah, with its lottery prohibition and a culture heavily influenced by conservative religious values, has an obsession index of 39. The state’s general aversion to gambling, driven by cultural and religious beliefs, might be the driving factor behind this low score.
The Role of Median Household Income
Median household income seems to play a significant role in a state’s online search behavior. A common thread among many of the states that search the most for Powerball-related terms is that they fall below the national median household income. This suggests that economic conditions could be a significant factor influencing interest in the lottery.
As the scatterplot above shows, states with higher incomes tend to be less obsessed with the Powerball lottery, but there are several outliers. Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Maryland, for example, have some of the highest median incomes in the country but still show more interest in Powerball than states with much lower median household incomes, such as Wyoming, Missouri, and Georgia.
However — as you can see in the scatterplot graph below — this trend disappears when you include the Powerball lottery per capital sales into the index.
So, although income may have an effect on the number of times people search for their Powerball lottery numbers, it doesn’t always translate into actual sales.
- Delaware, New Hampshire, and North Carolina top the chart in Powerball obsession.
- Washington, Vermont, and California show the least interest, according to the index.
- Kentucky, Mississippi, and North Carolina are the states with the highest ratio of Powerball-related online searches.
- States with lower median household incomes tend to show more interest in the Powerball lottery based on the percentage of total online searches that are Powerball-related, but the correlation is low when you include actual sales.