The state offered up a whopping $50 lottery scratcher, hoping to lure the affluent into pissing away paychecks for the privilege of peeling flaky foil from small pieces of paper. The game was an enormous success, bridging a $93 million revenue gap in the lottery commission's budget—a gab the state had previously bridged by dipping into public school funds. One problem…
As it turns out, the $50 game, called $130 Million Spectacular, has fared best in middle-income neighborhoods typically not considered affluent, according to six months of sales data analyzed by the Houston Chronicle.
The Chronicle looked at each of the state's ZIP codes with at least 1,000 adult residents, dividing them into groups based on their median household income in the 2000 census.
The analysis found that sales of the $50 Spectacular surged across middle-income ZIP codes, seeing strong per-capita sales in areas both with incomes of just more than $30,000 and in those with earnings upwards of $50,000 and $60,000.
Sales figures dropped off in both rich and poor areas, although the state's poorest ZIP codes — those with median incomes of $20,000 or less — saw stronger per-capita sales than the richest, with incomes of $90,000 or more.