West Virginia Ranks Among Luckiest And Most Obsessed Lottery States

Written By Brian Cross on September 1, 2023 - Last Updated on February 26, 2024
Studies show that WV Lottery players are among the

Have you ever wondered what state is the luckiest when it comes to winning the lottery? A recent study found that West Virginia ranks as the seventh “luckiest” state for winning jackpots on the largest multi-state lottery games. Another determined that WV was among the most lottery-obsessed states.

As you might imagine, states with high populations have more lottery winners, simply because more people are buying tickets in those locations. However, there’s more to state lottery statistics than meets the eye.

The two studies might have some correlation, but are they legit? How truly lucky are WV Lottery players?

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Are some states really luckier than others for lottery winners?

Technically speaking, the recent study ranks every state by how many Powerball and Mega Millions jackpots they’ve won per capita. This removes the bias toward more populated states by looking at the number of jackpots for every 1 million people in the state.

Many small states appear on the list because they’ve had a high number of jackpot winners relative to their population.
For example, the No. 1 state on the list, Delaware, has only about 967,000 residents, but has seen 10 Powerball winners over the years. That averages out to more than 10.34 jackpot winners per 1 million residents.

By comparison, WV has about 1.8 million residents and has had nine jackpot winners on the big draw games. That’s a total of 4.98 winners per 1 million residents.

There is an obvious flaw in this study that makes it unreliable in terms of predicting a state’s luck.

The issue is that all states have not sold the same lottery tickets for the same amount of time. Some states have been selling Powerball tickets since 1992, and some only began selling the game as recently as 2010-2020.

Mega Millions has been around since 2002, so for the states that only sold Mega Millions, others had a 10-year head start in regards to Powerball.

It won’t surprise you to find out that most of the states that top the list of the “luckiest states” have been selling Powerball tickets since the beginning. That includes West Virginia.

Which states search about the lottery online the most?

Apparently, some states are more obsessed with the lottery than others. Which ones, you might ask.

That’s what another recent study set out to determine. This one looked at how often residents in each state searched online for terms related to the lottery. Again, the study didn’t look at the total number of searches per state, but rather search volume – how many searches out of 100,000 were related to the lottery.

The Mountain State ranked as the eighth-most obsessed lottery state, with 18,763 lottery searches per 100,000 searches on average.

The study included over 140 search terms, including “Powerball,” “Mega Millions” and other national lottery games, as well as phrases like “where to buy lottery tickets,” and “what are the chances of winning the lottery?”

According to the study, Massachusetts and Rhode Island were the most obsessed with the lottery, with average monthly search volumes of over 24,000 per 100,000 in each state.

Top 10 states with most lottery searches

Here are the top 10 states and their lottery search volume per 100,000 entries:

  1. Massachusetts – 24,510
  2. Rhode Island – 24,276
  3. New Hampshire – 21,813
  4. Delaware – 21,680
  5. Wisconsin – 21,530
  6. Maryland – 19,171
  7. South Carolina – 19,046
  8. West Virginia – 18,763
  9. Nebraska – 17,560
  10. Iowa – 17,137

Interestingly, five of the top ten luckiest states from the study above are also on the most-searched list. Delaware, New Hampshire and Rhode Island top the list of the luckiest states.

Nebraska came in sixth, just ahead of WV. Both of those states have seen about five lottery jackpot winners per 1 million residents.

The quantity of internet searches for lottery content can be an indicator of how often people are buying and playing lottery games in a state. As the results of the study show, the search volume can vary widely between states. It has been found that demographic, cultural and economic factors play into how often people play the lottery.

In WV, the population skews older and has a lower rate of higher education attainment compared to national averages. These factors, along with the generally lower income levels and economic challenges faced by many residents, correspond with a greater likelihood of spending a larger portion of earnings on lottery games.

Conclusions about the WV Lottery

So while it’s reasonable to brand WV as a lottery loving state, there’s no real evidence that it’s more lucky than any other. In fact, every single ticket sold, no matter the states, has the exact same chance of winning the jackpot. Incidentally, it’s an extremely small chance. The odds of hitting the Mega Millions jackpot are 1 in 302.6 million. On Powerball, the odds are 1 in 292 million.

As far as luck goes, you’ll either have it or you won’t.

If you’re curious about exactly when and where past jackpot winners have emerged, you can look for yourself. Mega Millions and Powerball keep running lists of every jackpot winner since the very beginning on their websites.

Photo by Shutterstock.com
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Brian Cross

Brian Cross contributes casino, sports betting and lottery coverage to PlayWV and PlayPennsylvania. Brian studied Journalism at the University of Cincinnati and has been a contributing writer at Cincinnati’s alt-weekly for over 10 years.

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