Texas is one of the most restrictive states in the US when it comes to gambling. There’s no question about it. The only beacon of hope for future progress and the possible inclusion of other legal forms of gambling in the state is the Texas Lottery, with its draw games, state and interstate lotteries, and scratch tickets. State lottery legislation was introduced in 1991, and since then we have seen the creation of the Texas Lottery Commission, which controls and governs the lottery, and the addition of charitable bingo on the list of allowed games.
The lottery market in the state is worth more than $6 billion on a yearly level. Almost 90% of all proceeds go to the Foundation School Fund, which supports public education in the state and the Texas Veterans Commission Fund for Veterans’ Assistance, which provides direct services to veterans and their families.
This article will fill you in on everything about the lottery in Texas, including the types of games you can find, how to buy lottery tickets and other key information.
The Texas Lottery does not allow players to actually buy a ticket for any of the draws online, but there are some options.
Let’s start with the dedicated apps for Android and iOS that the Texas Lottery developed. One of the apps’ main purposes and features is to let you scan the tickets to find out if you have won anything. You can also pick and save your favorite (or lucky) numbers, for which the app will generate a special QR code you can then present to your local retailer and purchase a lottery draw.
The apps contain all the details about the games you can play, including the winning numbers and the jackpot amounts. They are available on the App Store and Google Play Store.
Mobile users of the Texas Lottery can rely on the designated apps to enter promotional second-chance drawings, but there is another way for players to do the same. The lottery accepts internet entries for the second-chance drawings from all locations in the state through its specially designed Luck Zone. The Luck Zone is an online platform where registered users can enter non-winning tickets for an opportunity to win prizes.
The registration process requires that all users provide personal details, certify their location within Texas by ticking the indicated box, and provide the exact address that they will use for notifications or prize fulfillment. You can enter a ticket only once, and once you’ve done so, you don’t have to save the physical copy to claim the potential winnings.
However, the absolute leader in providing Texans with online lottery games is the Jackpocket lottery app, which debuted just before the start of the 2019 NFL season.
Jackpocket is one of the first certified third-party lottery apps in the country that allows players to securely purchase official state lottery tickets from licensed retailers. The Jackpocket lottery app is there to help you order the lottery ticket from a retailer, check the results of the draws as they happen and participate in public lottery pools. In addition to Texas, players can play the lottery online in NY, CO, NJ and even OR.
You can also get alerts so you never miss a drawing, or use the autoplay option, which instructs the app to automatically purchase tickets for selected draws. The entire process takes a few simple steps:
One of the biggest advantages of using the app is that you won’t have to worry about losing the ticket. According to Jackpocket, more than $2 billion a year goes unclaimed.
Furthermore, there are multiple ways to fund your Jackpocket account in Texas. The app accepts Apple Pay (Visa, Mastercard and Discover debit cards), debit cards (Visa, Mastercard and Discover), PayPal, secure bank login and e-check.
You should know that Jackpocket won’t take a penny of your winnings. Being a courier service, it charges a small service fee when you make a deposit. Other than that, there are no fees. You keep what you win.
Since 2010, Texas has been offering the largest multi-state lotteries like Powerball and Mega Millions, along with several other state lottery games. There are nine draw games you can choose from and 69 scratch games with jackpot payout potential and ticket prizes.
While the multi-state lottery games are the most popular largely thanks to their potential winnings, the local games such as Lotto Texas and Texas Two-Step have their place, as well. Let’s review your options.
The Texas Lottery Commission signed agreements with the Multi-State Lottery Association and the Mega Millions consortium in 2009 to bring Powerball to Texans. The agreement was approved at the beginning of 2010, and the first Powerball ticket sales began in Texas on Jan. 31. The Mega Millions lottery has been available in Texas since 2003 when the state became the 11th to offer the game.
Powerball is one of the biggest lotteries in the world, and Texans have had their share of winnings from it, but first things first. To play the lottery, you must select five numbers from 1 to 69 on the upper play area of the ticket and one Powerball number from 1 to 26 in the lower play area. You can also choose the Quick Pick option to let the terminal pick your numbers.
During the drawing, the white balls correspond to the numbers in the upper area of the playboard, while the red ball is the Powerball number. A Powerball ticket costs $2, and you can add the Power Play feature for an additional $1.
A Power Play gives you the opportunity to multiply your non-grand jackpot winnings by two, three, four, five or 10 times. The maximum win cap for this feature is $2 million.
Speaking of limits, the starting guaranteed Powerball jackpot is $20 million at the moment due to the coronavirus pandemic and will increase by $2 million between drawings. The previous minimum jackpot was $40 million.
The largest Powerball jackpot won in Texas was a portion of the $500 million jackpot in 2015. The payout was shared among three winners. The winner from Princeton, Texas, received $127 million, which was the fifth-largest payout in the history of Powerball.
The biggest payout ever was $1.586 billion in 2016. Three lucky winners from Tennessee, Florida and California shared the prize, each receiving $533 million as an annuity option before taxes or $327.8 million as a lump-sum payment. Through the annuity option, the winner gets paid in 30 annual installments.
The Mega Millions lottery is similar to Powerball. Your slip should contain five numbers from 1 to 70 and one Megaplier number from 1 to 25. Each ticket costs $2, but adding the Megaplier option to multiply any non-grand jackpot prizes will cost you an extra $1.
The minimum Mega Millions jackpot is $20 million due to the COVID pandemic and will increase by $2 million after each draw. The previous minimum was $40 million, just like with the Powerball.
Texans have been quite successful at the Mega Millions lottery, especially a Leander resident who claimed a $227 million jackpot in 2019 — the largest lottery payout ever in Texas. Actually, the $227 million payout would have been possible if the winner had chosen the annuity and not the cash option. With the cash option, the winner was left with “only” $157,091,592.
The largest-ever Mega Millions jackpot was in 2016 to a winner from South Carolina who took home almost $878 million in a one-time cash payout of the possible $1.585 billion prize.
The Powerball draws take place every Wednesday and Saturday at 10:12 p.m. CT. while Mega Millions drawings are every Tuesday and Friday at 10:12 p.m. CT. You can watch the live webcasts on the official Texas Lottery website.
Texas has created some of the most interesting lotteries across the country. Their win potential, the frequency of draws and diverse gameplay all add to their appeal. Here are the best local lottery draw games in Texas:
If you want to use the Fireball feature, it will cost you another $1 or $2, but the option lets you replace any of the drawn numbers with a Fireball number. Each Texas Lottery Pick 3 ticket will cost 50 cents or $1, with a maximum payout of $500. There are four draws Monday through Saturday at 10 a.m., 12:27 p.m., 6 p.m. and 10:12 p.m.
The Fireball feature is also available, and the cost to play is either 50 cents or $1. There are four draws every Monday through Saturday at 10 p.m., 12:27 p.m., 6 p.m. and 10:12 p.m. The maximum payout for a $1 ticket is $5,000, while the minimum prize is $2,500.
The Texas Lottery offers 69 scratch ticket games. These include the $750 Million Winner’s Circle, $1,000,000 Extreme Cash, $250 Million Cash Party, 500X Loteria Spectacular and many others. Scratch tickets vary in price, starting at $1 and going all the way to $50 for the ones that have the biggest jackpots.
Texas’ gambling landscape depends mostly on just a couple of options: the lottery, charitable bingo, two tribal casinos (Kickapoo Lucky Eagle Casino Hotel and Naskila Gaming) and only a few racetracks.
Speaking of tribal casinos, they’ve had a tough time staying open. This is especially true for Naskila Gaming, managed by the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe, which is fighting to prove the facility falls under federal authority and the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988, and not state law. As for greyhound and horse racing, Texas allows only on-track pari-mutuel wagering.
For the time being, all forms of commercial casinos with slots, card/dice games, sportsbooks and other types of gambling are prohibited in Texas, and so are Texas online casinos. Lately, there has been a push to change the legislation and open up sports betting in Texas. The Las Vegas Sands gambling empire has been lobbying hard for the change, hopefully by the end of 2021.
The Texas Lottery was created thanks to House Bill 54 in 1991, and by 1992, the state already had 15,000 licensed retailers in the state. The lottery’s first instant ticket game was Lone Star Millions in 1992, and 102.4 million tickets were sold during the first week, setting a world record at the time. The following years were quite fruitful for the lottery. The state saw more than $1 billion in sales in ’93, and profits were almost $900 million in ’94.
In 2003, the Mega Millions multi-state lottery joined the portfolio of games, followed by Powerball in 2010. From 2008 to 2019, the company marked a yearly sales growth, with more than $6.25 billion in total sales in 2019 alone.
Over its history, the Texas Lottery contributed over $1.637 billion to the state’s education system, which is more than 7% of the entire budget allocated for public schools and more than $142 million to Texas veterans since 2010.
All proceeds are carefully distributed according to a fixed structure. The lottery spends around 66% on paying out prizes. For the Foundation School Fund, the lottery sets aside 24.8%, while the retailer compensation takes 5.2% of all proceeds. The lottery administration uses 3.4%, and the Fund for Veterans’ Assistance and other state programs use around 0.3%.