Record betting on lottery, sports and gaming means record payout to schools

By DAVID BROOKS

Monitor staff

Published: 09-04-2023 6:38 PM

If you want to support public education and have a little flutter at the same time, should you buy a lottery ticket or do some state-sponsored betting on sports?

Buy the lottery ticket, by a long shot. But you’re less likely to lose money from the betting – although you shouldn’t do either of them unless you can afford to lose. 

That’s the conclusion from fiscal year 2023 figures released by New Hampshire Lottery, which also oversees the state’s gambling.

A record $603 million was spent on lottery tickets between July 2022 and July 2023 of which $135 million went toward state education. The dollar you lose on the lottery will send, on average, 22 cents to public schools.

For sports wagering, a whopping $884 million was bet during that fiscal year, most of it online, and $35 million went toward state education. The dollar you lose betting on the Red Sox will send, on average, just 3 cents to schools.

That’s mostly because sports betting pays out far more in winnings than lottery tickets: roughly 90% is paid out by betting compared to roughly half for lottery tickets.  The education payout is also trimmed because sports betting runs on a revenue share model, with the contractor DraftKings getting about half of “the hold,” gambling-speak for the amount left over after winnings are paid.

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Finally, there’s a smaller but growing component: charitable gaming. N.H. Lottery says 84 cents of every $1 of the fees collected, or $16 million, went to education. 

In total, the last fiscal year saw New Hampshire gamblers of various types contribute, albeit involuntarily, $187 million to public schools, a record. That equates to 31 cents on every $1 they played. 

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