Georgia Lottery Players, Also Known as Suckers

The lottery players in the state of Georgia are the biggest suckers in a nation buying more than $50 billion a year in tickets for state-run games, which have the worst odds of any form of legal gambling.

According to Bloomberg:

Georgia residents spent an average $470.73 on the lottery in 2010, or 1 percent of their personal income, while they received the sixth-highest prize payouts, 63 cents for each dollar spent, the Sucker Index shows. Only Massachusetts had higher spending, $860.70 per adult, more than three times the U.S. average.

Georgia had per capita income of $34,800 in 2010, below the national average of $39,945, while Massachusetts’s was higher at $51,302, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Massachusetts players were the biggest lottery winners, getting back almost 72 cents on the dollar, according to the data compiled by Bloomberg. That state still places second on the Sucker Index because spending as a percentage of personal income is the most, at 1.3 percent.

So how does the Sucker Index work? Bloomberg took the total spent on ticket sales in each state and subtracted the amount of lottery prizes awarded. The difference was divided by the total personal income of each state’s residents. Georgia was at the top (or bottom, depending on how you view it) of the list.

Conclusion: if the saying “There’s a sucker born every minute” holds any merit, there’s a very good chance he is living in Georgia.


Graffiti Artist to Make $200 Million from Facebook Stock

Facebook announced its IPO yesterday, in an effort to raise $5 billion (perhaps more), which will be the largest internet public offering ever. Many people who hold Facebook shares are poised to become millionaires overnight. The New York Times reports a story of one David Choe, a graffiti artist who painted murals on the walls of Facebook’s first offices in Palo Alto, California. He chose to be paid in stock rather than in cash. Now, he’s poised to become an ultra-millionaire, to the tune of $200 million or more.

Many “advisers” to the company at that time, which is how Mr. Choe would have been classified, would have received about 0.1 to 0.25 percent of the company, according to a former Facebook employee. That may sound like a paltry amount, but a stake that size is worth hundreds of millions of dollars, based on a market value of $100 billion. Mr. Choe’s payment is valued at roughly $200 million, according to a number of people who know Mr. Choe and Facebook executives.

Sounds like Choe has won the lottery (by comparison, a $380 million Mega Millions jackpot in 2011 had a cash payout of $240 million, the largest in the history of the American lottery).

On a final note, what is the artist’s advice for living? “Always double down on 11. Always.”