More than $12 million in lottery winnings went unclaimed in Massachusetts in the fiscal year 2022, a nearly $4 million increase over the previous year, a State Lottery spokesperson said.
While most of those funds go back into the state’s general fund to be distributed to local cities and towns, a portion is provided to the Office of Problem Gambling Services and the Department of Public Health for gambling addiction services, said Marlene Warner, CEO of The Massachusetts Council on Gaming and Health.
About 2% of adults residing in Massachusetts have a “full-blown gambling disorder,” and another 8.4% of people have experienced some form of problem gambling in the past year, Warner said.
She said the lottery is “a really major factor” for people with a gambling addiction, due to its accessibility, abundance of gaming options, and the fact they can play anonymously.
“Money is their drug of choice,” Warner says. “That action, in order to get more action, require additional money.”
Roughly $900 is spent for every man, woman, and child on the Massachusetts State Lottery every year, she said, making it the most profitable lottery in the world.