Charles Spaulding Jr. spends about $90 of his monthly $1,300 income on the Ohio Lottery.
The 68-year-old retired truck driver says his favorite game is Mega Millions, which has odds of 1-in-176 million for its top prize.
"I've just about lost hope on it," the East Side resident said recently after buying a ticket at the Yearling Market & Carryout in Whitehall. "I'm not going to spend every penny on it. If I see I'm getting low on money, I pass it up."
The Ohio Lottery collects more than $2 billion a year from people willing to take their chances on long odds, and the state hopes to make millions more this year with the addition of a Keno game.
Many lottery players, like Spaulding, have low incomes. Any adult can play the lottery, but a Dispatch analysis found that the state makes most of its money in lower-income neighborhoods.