Every shop and gas station in Iowa may seem to offer scratch tickets and Powerball, but we’re well below average in per-capita spending on state-sponsored games of chance. Gambling trade group spokesman Mark Zamarripa says Iowa ranks 37th out of the 41 states that have state-sponsored lotteries. He says the ranking has a lot to do with “products” each state has to offer — some states are in the multistate Powerball game, some offer video-lottery terminals, and those factors have a big impact on their per-capita sales in state games. Zamarripa is president of with the National Association of State and Provincial Lotteries, a trade group formed in 1971. It’s evolved from an informal exchange of information between a few states states to become an active association that gives lotteries from around the US and the Caribbean with information and ideas. Spending ranked by the members of NASPL ranges from 11-hundred-15 dollars in Rhode Island to just five dollars per person in Mexico.Zamarripa says Rhode Island is number-one in spending — in part because it operates video lottery terminals — and Iowa’s only 39. Not all states have lottery games run by the state, and the organization doesn’t deal with private operators like Indian casinos. Puerto Rico, the District of Columbia, and several Canadian provinces are members of the organization, and Zamarripa says they don’t compete — they cooperate. It’s a field where they share information like which games worked well, rather than compete with one another. Zamarripa says their competition is casinos, riverboats and tribal gambling halls as well as “discretionary spending” — treats and luxiries that people might choose to spend money on rather than gambling.
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