The 43 states that run lotteries made $17.7 billion from the sale of tickets in 2010. That’s because Americans spent $53 billion buying lottery tickets. Casino and race track betting meant another $7 billion to states in 2011.
The lure of such cash has been too tempting for most states, despite critics who say gambling preys on the disadvantaged and addicted. Legal gambling of some sort now exists in every state but Hawaii and Utah. Four states had lottery profits top $1 billion in 2010: New York, Florida, California and Texas.
Click through our photo gallery for more on lotteries and other legalized gambling. See “What Do Others Say?” for more perspective, then add to the discussion below. How do you feel about legalized gambling? Is it an appropriate state revenue source?