State law requires the Texas Lottery take an annual survey of its players. For the last several years, the University of Houston’s Hobby Center for Public Policy has had the job of conducting the survey. Jim Granato is the center’s director.
“The reason why they do this survey is because they’re concerned that people with limited means are playing at a disproportionate rate, relative to the rest of the population.”
The results from this year’s survey show that’s clearly not the case.
“The distribution of the income of the people who do play tends to be higher. Marital status — you tend to be married, as opposed to not married, you’re more likely to play. In addition, men are more likely to play than women.”
Granato says that lottery player profile is unlike other states. It’s also a change from recent lottery player surveys in Texas. Last year, slightly more than 40 percent of Texans played some sort of lottery game. That’s up from just under 34 percent in 2010.
Players are not spending as much money, though — around $31 a month, down from nearly $39 a month on average.
Granato says the survey does not get into the reasons why people change their lottery habits. That would require surveying the same group of lottery players for several years, which isn’t the current method. Granato says the rise of internet gaming has had an impact on the number of lottery players over the last decade.