Group to poll lottery players

Correction: The Daily Cougar incorrectly reported that UH was the first university to consecutively administer the state-mandated annual Texas Lottery demographic survey. The University of Texas has previously done so.

For the second consecutive year the UH Center for Public Policy will administer the state-mandated annual Texas Lottery demographic survey to provide the commission information on its players.

UH participates in the survey by obtaining data and presenting it to the Texas Lottery Commission. The Survey Research Institute on campus randomly compiles a phone list of about 1,700 potential prospects, and surveyors at the 20-station system call selected individuals.

"We are the first University to do it back-to-back," said CPP Director and political science associate professor Jim Granato. "Typically (the Lottery Commission) shops around the state…. I think they were pleased with what we did last year."

For the 2007 survey UHCPP included two features that provided more comprehensive data.

"We were the first to introduce cell phones in our sample. Most people under 30 don’t have a landline phone. That’s a greater share of the sample being excluded because they only use cell phones," Granato said.

Without the inclusion of cell phones, previous surveys were not able to include such a high percentage of participants. According to the CPP report, cell phone users last year, who were primarily male, participated in the survey at a higher rate than landline users.

In addition to considering cell phones, CPP also created a visual element that maps the state of Texas with every county and lottery district. This interactive function allows users to view samples drawn from each county more precisely. Interested parties may go online and select a specific county then tailor the search as narrowly as they desire.

"A visual is not typically done when you present social science data, but it gives you an advantage you didn’t already have," Granato said. "There are features presented that you can’t get with a basic graph."

This year, CPP will be able to compare last year’s results to their coming findings, all of which will be included in the 2008 visual.

Created in 1993 with the purpose of researching income disparities, the demographic survey asks participants a series of questions including age, marital status, income, education level, gender and race.

"We want to be as representative as possible, otherwise you misrepresent what’s really going on in the state," Granato said.

The more tailored questions include the type of games played by the participants – Pick 3, Cash 5 or Lotto Texas – and the amount of money spent on tickets weekly or monthly.

Last year’s survey results showed the three largest lottery consumers were American Indians, males and persons between the ages of 25 to 34. The unemployed spent more on lottery tickets than retired persons or persons employed full or part time.

Harris County also had the most participants of the survey in Texas with 282 of the 1,702 surveyed; Dallas County came in second with 147.

Last year CPP found a 7 percent decrease in lottery play from 2006, with 38 percent of respondents indicating they had played a Texas Lottery game in 2007, Granato said.

The survey takes about 10 days to two weeks to complete. Once the report is presented to the commission, it will be available in December at

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