Texas Lottery

Since Texas voters approved a constitutional amendment in 1991 as the state’s first form of legal gambling, the Texas Lottery has pretty much stood alone in that category.

The first lottery ticket sales began in May 1992 and have since generated billions of dollars in revenue for the state.

Over the past three decades, more than a quarter of all the money brought in by the Texas Lottery has gone to support education and veterans assistance programs in the Lone Star State.

Let’s run down how you can find information on the different games the lottery offers, the procedure to claim prizes, and how to buy lottery tickets.

Texas Lottery multi-state draw games

The Texas Lottery participates in the Multistate Lottery Corporation draw-style games. Those contests include the very popular Mega Millions and Powerball titles. You can buy tickets for the bi-weekly drawings at pretty much any lottery retailer in the state.

These aren’t the only draw-style games available in Texas, however. The state’s lottery offers its own titles with regular drawings, some of which also carry significant jackpots.

State draw games in Texas

The chase of nine-figure jackpots creates a lot of publicity for multi-state draw games, but the catalog of draw-style games available only in Texas is actually much bigger.

“Daily draws” for the Texas Lottery drawings actually happen six days a week, excluding Sundays.

Among the featured titles:

  • All or Nothing: This $2 ticket has two ways to win $250,000. As the name suggests, matching either all 12 numbers or none of them gets you to that top prize. With four drawings on each appropriate day, the 1:11 chances of breaking even look decent.
  • Cash Five: For just $1, you can get your spot in the daily drawing worth up to $25,000. One in every eight tickets wins a free play by matching at least two numbers while matching all five numbers takes the top prize.
  • Daily 4: As the name suggests, pick four numbers for this drawing that happens four times daily. All the different combinations of four numbers have their own corresponding prizes, at the 50 cents and $1 play levels. For example, picking two sets of two like-winning numbers wins $2,500 on a 50-cent play or $5,000 on a $1 ticket.
  • Lotto Texas: Players get the option to add Extra! to this $1 ticket for another dollar. Doing so can increase the value of non-jackpot prizes up to $10,000. Drawings for this game take place only on Wednesdays and Saturdays, with a jackpot that builds value until someone wins it by matching all six numbers.
  • Texas Two-Step: Pick four numbers and one Bonus Ball, pay your dollar, then watch for the results of the Monday and Thursday drawings. This game also has a progressive jackpot, which you can claim by matching all the numbers on your play slip. Matching just one number wins $5, and just the Bonus Ball pays $7.

Instant win games in Texas

If you prefer to not have to wait for a drawing, scratch-off games are renowned for their instant gratification. With prices for tickets ranging from $1 all the way up to $50, there’s something for every playing budget.

As you would expect, the number and value of potential prizes go up as the ticket cost does. For example, the $1 10X The Cash scratcher has a top prize of $5,000, whereas the $50 $5 Million Fortune card can be worth up to the amount in its name.

The Texas Lottery refreshes these games often to keep players engaged as well.

Lottery retailers

With thousands of lottery retailers across the state, odds are you won’t have to go far to buy your lottery ticket of choice. Many different types of businesses can get licenses to sell tickets. They include:

  • Convenience stores
  • Grocery stores
  • Gas stations
  • Liquor stores
  • Truck stops

As long as you’re at least 18 years of age, you can buy lottery tickets at any licensed retailer in Texas. Remember to play responsibly.

What to do if you win the lottery

If you’ve gotten lucky playing any Texas Lottery game, there are some best practices you should follow. The video below details all of them.

Texas Lottery app and website

Although it’s not legal to buy lottery tickets online in Texas, that doesn’t mean the lottery is stuck in the 20th century.

There is an app that you can download from the Texas Lottery website that makes your playing easier in several ways. In addition to taking advantage of special second-chance drawings for non-winning tickets, you can:

  • Check your tickets to see if you’ve won
  • Prepare your draw plays with your favorite numbers
  • Find the closest retailer to your location
  • Check on jackpot values
  • Review the current catalog of scratch-off tickets

Plus, if the law ever changes to allow online sales, you’ll be ready for that day.

Jackpocket app allows online lottery access

Jackpocket is a mobile application for Android and iOS devices. It’s not affiliated with the Texas Lottery, but you can use it to legally buy both multi-state and Texas-specific lottery tickets in the Lone Star State. Games available on the app include:

  • Cash Five
  • Daily 3
  • Mega Millions
  • Powerball
  • Treasure Hunt

In addition to buying tickets on the app, you can check drawing results and set up your plays with your favorite numbers. Perhaps the biggest benefit to buying your lottery tickets this way is that you can join in public pools for certain games. While that does reduce your winnings if the pool does hit on a jackpot, it increases your odds of winning a share of such a prize.

You can use a variety of deposit methods on the app, including your bank accounts or PayPal. The app even offers a welcome bonus of $3 off your first order. You must be in one of eight participating jurisdictions to play, however. On top of Texas, those are:

  • Colorado
  • Minnesota
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Ohio
  • Washington, D.C.

Who benefits from the Texas Lottery?

One of the biggest selling points of playing the lottery is the funding sales produce for state programs. Without the money the lottery disperses, many educational and veterans’ assistance programs in the state would struggle to provide their services.

In fact, the Texas Lottery has provided over $25.9 billion to the Foundation School Fund alone since 1997. In the fiscal year 2020 alone, that fund got $1.661 billion from the lottery. Veterans contributions are more recent but no less robust.

Since 2009, the lottery has paid over $145 million to programs that serve veterans in the state. Over 90% of these programs’ annual revenue stems from special scratch games dedicated to veterans’ causes. Just in FY 2020, those games paid out $22.2 million to the Texas Veterans Commission.

History of Texas Lottery

Here is a timeline for the Texas Lottery, hitting all the highlights that have brought the company to where it is today.

  • Nov. 5, 1991: Texas approves a ballot measure authorizing a state lottery by a 2:1 margin.
  • March 7, 1992: State awards contract to GTECH to produce and distribute tickets.
  • May 28, 1992: First tickets go on sale, with over 102 million sold in the first week.
  • May 25, 1993: Gov. Ann Richards approves a bill to create the Texas Lottery Commission. The Commission holds its first meeting in February 1994.
  • March 10, 1996: Total sales since launch surpass $10 billion.
  • Dec. 15, 2002: Total transfers to the state since launch surpass $10 billion.
  • Dec. 3, 2003: Texas Lottery begins selling multistate lottery tickets.
  • Nov. 9, 2009: Lottery announces the first-ever veterans assistance scratch-off game.
  • Sept. 27, 2017: Annual sales surpass $5 billion for the first time.
  • Sept. 24, 2020: The Texas Lottery breaks its own sales record for the 10th consecutive fiscal year.