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The Hughes Report
Saturday, October 7, 2006
Lottery Tempts the Poor Most
Topic: God Help Us!

The Texas Lottery, along with parimutuel betting, was pushed through by one-term Democrat governor Ann Richards on the promise that it would fund education in the state.  Not only has it failed to live up to that promise, but a recent study of the lottery by Texas Tech University shows that the lottery appeals most to those who have the least, amounting to a regressive tax on the poor.

The figures are as follows:

$44.55 the average risked by players per month in 2004
$38.13 the average risked 2 years ago

GENDER
$48.65 males
$41.66 females

RACE
$30.76 whites
$88.98 blacks
$64.83 Hispanics
$72.73 other

EDUCATION
$62.55 non-high school graduates
$67.19 high school graduates
$42.28 some college
$26.82 college graduates

According to Brian Cannon, in charge of the survey at Tech, "Rates of participation are down.  So we have fewer people reporting having played, but they're actually spending more money when they're playing."

Gerald Busald calls the scratch-off game, "the crack cocaine of the lottery."  A professor of mathematics at San Antonio College, Busald has concluded that "There is a greater percentage of people who have a gambling problem with the Texas Lottery than ever before."

"The less education you have," says Busald, "the more you are spending.  The people who are supporting the Texas Lottery are those with the least amount of education and the least amount of income."

But seriously, didn't we know this would be the case going in?  Huh?

[Source:  Jeffrey Gilbert, "Those with Least Chance It Most, Texas Lottery Player Study Shows," in Houston Chronicle, February 1, 2005, pp. B1, B5.]

©2005 Paul A. Hughes


Posted by hughes at 6:43 PM CDT

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