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Should Gambling Markets be Privatized? An Examination of State Lotteries in the United States


  • Kent Grote

    () (Department of Economics and Business, Lake Forest College)

  • Victor Matheson

    () (Department of Economics, College of the Holy Cross)


State lotteries currently operate in 43 states across the US. Recently, three states have privatized their lottery operations, handing over the management of their lotteries to private companies in hopes of generating greater revenues for the state governments. Questions arise regarding the economic rationale for this decision and an economic model is presented to determine whether one state, Illinois, has been successful at generating more state transfer revenues as a result of privatization in its first year of results. The issue of lottery privatization is also examined in the larger context of overall growth in the gambling industry in the United States with particular attention paid to sports gambling.

Suggested Citation

  • Kent Grote & Victor Matheson, 2013. "Should Gambling Markets be Privatized? An Examination of State Lotteries in the United States," Working Papers 1303, College of the Holy Cross, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hcx:wpaper:1303

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Terry Ashley & Yi Liu & Semoon Chang, 1999. "Estimating net lottery revenues for states," Atlantic Economic Journal, Springer;International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 27(2), pages 170-178, June.
    2. Robert Baumann & Victor A. Matheson, 2013. "Estimating economic impact using ex post econometric analysis: cautionary tales," Chapters, in: Plácido Rodríguez & Stefan Késenne & Jaume García (ed.), The Econometrics of Sport, chapter 10, pages 169-188, Edward Elgar Publishing.
    3. Victor Matheson & Kent Grote, 2008. "U.S. Lotto Markets," Working Papers 0802, College of the Holy Cross, Department of Economics.
    4. Hausch, Donald B. & Ziemba, W.T. (ed.), 2008. "Handbook of Sports and Lottery Markets," Elsevier Monographs, Elsevier, edition 1, number 9780444507440.
    5. Frees, Edward W. & Miller, Thomas W., 2004. "Sales forecasting using longitudinal data models," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 20(1), pages 99-114.
    6. Brad R. Humphreys & Victor Matheson, 2010. "Booms, Busts, and Gambling: Can Gaming Revenues Reduce Budget Volatility?," Working Papers 1003, College of the Holy Cross, Department of Economics.
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    More about this item


    lotto; lottery; public finance; gambling;

    JEL classification:

    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty
    • H71 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue
    • L83 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Sports; Gambling; Restaurants; Recreation; Tourism


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