Story As It Appeared in the
Houston Chronicle & San Antonio Express News
Posted: Sunday, June 10, 2007
Comments by Dawn Nettles are below the story ...
Rich, poor: Who spends the most on the lottery?
By LISA SANDBERG and JULIE DOMEL
That's OK; neither has the state.
Several months ago, when the Texas Lottery Commission introduced a $50 scratch-off game, agency officials expressed confidence it would draw affluent customers. But they had little to base that assumption on.
As it turns out, they were right for the first 10 days of sales, at least.
But had they mapped ticket sales of their pricier tickets for the past 12 months the $10, $20, $25, $30 and $50 games they might have discovered retailers in the state's 10 poorest ZIP codes sold $2.4 million of them, some 50 percent more than retailers in the state's 10 wealthiest ZIP codes.
Per-capita spending on the high-dollar tickets was $25 in the 10 poorest ZIP codes versus $18 in the 10 wealthiest.
That's counting the early sales data from the new $50 game, which went on sale May 7, and not including ZIP codes with a population of less than 100.
By itself, the new $50 ticket sold faster in more affluent ZIP codes.
Concern for customers
Sometimes, he wants to tell them to save their dough.
"They spend to their last dollar," Gonzalez said.
"(They) come in and they put a lot of money into these games. I have never seen people look so disappointed that their gambling odds didn't come through. It's really bad."
A world away, John Dhuka doesn't face such dilemmas as owner of a store in Rice Village, where the median family income in the last census stood at $104,000, making the area the state's eighth-most affluent.
His customers have little interest in higher-priced tickets, so he doesn't sell them.
State officials dismiss suggestions that the poor are more apt to wager money on high-dollar lottery scratch-offs.
"Because it's a poor neighborhood doesn't mean that the poor are buying the tickets," maintains Rep. Ismael "Kino" Flores, D-Palmview, who oversees the Lottery Commission as chairman of the House Licensing and Administrative Procedures Committee.
"Before, what used to be neighborhood stores now cater to people moving through the neighborhood. I've seen it. People stop at different stores and buy their tickets," he said.
Fighting the lottery
"It's like cigarettes," Flores said. "If that's what people want, let them buy it."
Critics say state-sponsored gambling wasn't as problematic when most games cost a dollar. ("Oh rats!" Gov. Ann Richards exclaimed 15 years ago when she purchased the first ticket and discovered she'd become the first lottery loser.)
"They always argued it was a harmless, little game. Spend a buck. 'Oh, I lost. Big deal,' " said David Hudson, a former Democratic state representative from Tyler who waged a bitter campaign against attempts to introduce a lottery to Texas.
Lawmakers, then voters, approved the lottery the year Hudson left office, in 1991.
'Instant lack of gratification'
Gerald Busald, a mathematics professor at San Antonio College who has campaigned to force the agency to publicize its long-shot odds on tickets and billboards, calls scratch-offs a form of "instant lack of gratification."
In pushing them, Texas has turned into little more than a bookie, he said.
"The state should have a responsibility to protect its citizens, not prey on its citizens who don't look out for themselves for lack of education or lack of hope," Busald said.
Texas' lucky investment
Players forked down nearly $9 million for the new $50 game, called $130 Million Spectacular, within the first 10 days of its launch.
Roughly $243,000 of the total came from the state's 100 poorest ZIP codes, versus $682,000 in the 100 richest.
So, those who wince at the idea of a $50 game can take comfort in this: In the early going, customers in the 100 most affluent ZIP codes outspent those in the poorest 100 by 181 percent, indicating the state may finally have come up with a game too pricey for the poor to play.
Comments by Dawn Nettles, Publisher of the Lotto Report
#732 - Weekly Grand - $2 Scratch Ticket
#694 - Double Doubler - $1 Scratch Ticket
COSTS: The printing costs for the more expensive scratch tickets is far greater than the
G-Tech, on the other hand, earns a percentage of gross sales, not net sales!
Have you ever noticed that the TLC touts "total sales" rather than the
And by the way, when and if you do see a "bottom line," do know that it has been
I wish someone would tell me why TLC management wants to increase
Professor Gerald Busald's Students Give
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