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Who Plays the Numbers Games in the Middle of the Day?


  • Kathryn L. Combs

    () (Department of Finance, University of St. Thomas)

  • John A. Spry

    () (Department of Finance, University of St. Thomas)


We analyze the increase in sales of daily numbers lottery games – Pick 3 and Pick 4 games – after Ohio introduced midday drawings in August 1999. Using a 36 month panel data set of Ohio lottery sales by zip code we find that midday drawings increased Pick 3 sales by 12.1% per adult and increased Pick 4 sales by 16.6% per adult. The increase in both Pick 3 and Pick 4 sales after midday drawings began was greater in zip codes with a greater percentage of households receiving public assistance and zip codes with a higher percentage of black residents. The Pick 3 Red Ball promotions during this period, which increased the payouts to winning Pick 3 tickets, were successful in raising Ohio Lottery sales and profits. Pick 3 sales per adult would have declined 15.4% and Pick 4 sales per adult would have dropped 2.4% between 1998 and 2000 without any marketing innovations by the Ohio Lottery. This trend of falling lottery sales over time was more severe in areas near casinos, many of which opened in the mid 1990s.

Suggested Citation

  • Kathryn L. Combs & John A. Spry, 2007. "Who Plays the Numbers Games in the Middle of the Day?," Working Papers 200705, Ball State University, Department of Economics, revised Aug 2007.
  • Handle: RePEc:bsu:wpaper:200705

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Ann Hansen, 1995. "The Tax Incidence of the Colorado State Lottery Instant Game," Public Finance Review, , vol. 23(3), pages 385-398, July.
    2. Charles T. Clotfelter & Philip J. Cook, 1987. "Implicit Taxation in Lottery Finance," NBER Working Papers 2246, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Donald Siegel & Gary Anders, 2001. "The Impact of Indian Casinos on State Lotteries: A Case Study of Arizona," Public Finance Review, , vol. 29(2), pages 139-147, March.
    4. Garrett, Thomas A. & Marsh, Thomas L., 2002. "The revenue impacts of cross-border lottery shopping in the presence of spatial autocorrelation," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(4), pages 501-519, July.
    5. Clotfelter, Charles T & Cook, Philip J, 1990. "On the Economics of State Lotteries," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 4(4), pages 105-119, Fall.
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    Cited by:

    1. Kathryn L. Combs & Jaebeom Kim & Jim Landers & John A. Spry, 2016. "The Responsiveness of Casino Revenue to the Casino Tax Rate," Public Budgeting & Finance, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 36(3), pages 22-44, September.

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