The majority of people who played the Wyoming Lottery during its first months of operations earned at least a middle-class income, according to an online survey commissioned by the Wyoming Lottery Corp.
Most players, meanwhile, bought their tickets at convenience stores, the study showed.
The summary of the survey is the result of one of four records requests by the Star-Tribune. Lottery officials have provided information for two of the four requests, which also seek data on employees' salaries and lottery games.
Officials at the lottery — which began selling tickets Aug. 24 — declined to provide an original copy of the study, saying it contained proprietary information.
Lottery CEO Jon Clontz said the study was performed by Mosak Advertising and Insights, of Austin, Texas, a firm he and lottery Chief Operations Officer Louise Plata worked with when they were at the Oregon Lottery.
"Every lottery that's doing its job properly is going to do market and demographic research so that there's an awareness of the products that people want, the predictability of sales and competition and all that stuff," he said. "Folks have to remember, we're a 440-store retail chain company."
The survey did not randomly select lottery customers.
Data was collected through an online survey. People found the survey either through the lottery's website or by email if customers had signed up to receive further information about the lottery. To participate, people had to indicate they had purchased a lottery ticket.
Clonz said he was struck by the income diversity of those who responded.
"There's a common perception that the majority of people who play games are in the lower income brackets," he said. "We didn't see that in Wyoming. Sometimes you see that. Our player base is spread throughout the spectrum in terms of incomes. There's no one income group or class or whatever you want to call it that's playing more than another."
Six percent of people who responded to the survey said they earned less than $20,000 annually, according to the survey. Another 29 percent earned between $20,000 and $49,999 a year.
Nine percent didn't disclose incomes.
Lottery officials recently presented a summary of the study to lawmakers on the Joint Judiciary Committee.
Committee member Rep. Mark Baker, R-Rock Springs, voted for the lottery bill in 2013, and he's happy with the figures.
"One of the biggest arguments against it is it has this big tax on lower socio-economic classes," he said. "And the numbers just aren't showing it."
Among the people who participated in the December study, 1,121 said they bought tickets at convenience stores, while another 391 said they purchased them at grocery stores. The remainder bought tickets at bars, liquor stores, restaurants, smoke shops, bowling alleys and WyoLotto's Cheyenne headquarters.
Survey participants said they still traveled to buy lottery tickets outside Wyoming, even as they played WyoLotto. Many said they enjoyed buying scratcher tickets, which are available in many surrounding states' lotteries but are specifically prohibited in the Wyoming lottery law.
They also said they spend money on nonlottery gambling, including off-track horse race betting machines in bars and clubs across the state. That's important to note, Clontz said.
"They're a definite direct competitor to lottery products, and that's important because one of the things in the statute is it says to maximize revenue," he said. "So in order to do that you have to assess the competition. And these video gaming machines are a serious competitor."