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Report: Maine's Poorest Most Likely to Spend on Lottery Tickets

For some of us, buying a lottery ticket is an occasional fun thing to do. But for others, it's deadly serious. And, the poorer you are, the more likely you are to spend on state lottery tickets.

And the differences aren't small:  The people who live in Maine's poorest towns spend as much as 200 times, per person, what those in wealthier communities spend.

An investigative series by Dave Sherwood of the Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting suggests that sophisticated research and marketing go into making sure that lottery games appeal most to those who can least afford to play them, resulting in what Sherwood describes as a "multi-million dollar tax on the poor."

Nora Flaherty talks with the Center's editor-in-chief, John Christie, who says the series is based on a statistical analysis of lottery users, along with Maine and U.S. Census data, and it shines a light on some disturbing trends.


Nora is originally from the Boston area but has lived in Chicago, Michigan, New York City and at the northern tip of New York state. Nora began working in public radio at Michigan Radio in Ann Arbor and has been an on-air host, a reporter, a digital editor, a producer, and, when they let her, played records.