Laura Estrada, 33, can’t seem to get enough of the high-dollar tickets. She earns just more than $22,000 a year as a customer sales representative for a party store in north Austin but spends anywhere between $100 and $200 a week on scratch-off tickets, including the $50 games. She loves the rush.
“Losing $50 makes you perspire; it makes you nervous. ‘Gosh, I shouldn’t have bought that.’ But then you win and it makes you feel great,” she said.
Estrada harbors no illusion: She knows the lottery is a money drain for habitual players like herself. But it’s her favorite hobby. So she doesn’t calculate the losses; she concentrates on the wins, like the $200 she collected on a $50 ticket. She has to think hard about how many $50 tickets she’s bought to win that one — between six and 10, she estimates.
Her reason for continuing to play? “I have to try to get my money back.”
Census analysis shows she’s pretty much squarely the average player. Neat. So I guess they plan to get rid of the thing? Not so much:
“The $50 ticket salvaged our entire fiscal year last year,” said Robert Tirloni, projects manager for the Texas Lottery Commission, bringing $137 million to state coffers since the game’s debut in May and helping the commission close a $93 million gap in revenue between 2006 and 2007.
Kind of gives you warm fuzzies, doesn’t it? Maybe it’s better that the media is just used to keep track of all the missing white women after all.