Problems For The Texas Lottery

The law requires the Texas Lottery to do a study each year on the people who play its games. The primary purpose is to see what affect the lottery is having on people who can least afford to play. The results of this year’s study isn’t what lottery officials wanted to hear.

"It was the lowest participation rate recorded so far in the last twenty years. In addition, spending was down from last year and participation across every game, which is consistent with total participation, was down as well."

Jim Granato is a professor at the University of Houston and helped organize the survey. In 2009, those who played the games spent about 45 dollars a month. The survey shows that number dropped to about 38 dollars in 2010. And while many believe it's poor people who blow money on lottery tickets, this year’s survey shows otherwise.

"People that were working were more likely to play and then also had children were more likely to play, which suggest to us that the economy is having an effect that people who don’t have any money and are economically insecure aren’t playing and people that have some security are playing."

Granato says the stereotype of the poor minimum wage lottery player isn’t accurate.

"There’s no difference between the people who play and the people who don’t play demographically."

Granato says middle and upper class people play the lottery just as much as those with smaller incomes, they just have more money to spend on the games.

Allison Skelton of Houston says she usually plays the lottery once or twice a month, but not as much lately.

"Less often, the economy yeah."

Bill: "Not as much money?"

"No, Not as much expendable money. No."

Another interesting thing the survey found is that more women are playing the lottery than men. That could mean women have more disposable income than men, or that men are simply choosing to use their money on other things. To find out the reason will require another survey.
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