Texas Lottery and Online Tickets

Update

  • Mega Millions
    • Next estimated jackpot: $31 million
    • Next draw: 1/31 @ 10 p.m.
    • Buy tickets here
  • Powerball
    • Next estimated jackpot: $572 million
    • Next draw: 1/28 @ 10 p.m.
    • Buy tickets here

History of the Texas Lottery

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

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.

The lottery is not without its critics. Some detractors worry that it disproportionately targets minorities and lower income communities, and, to a degree, statistics bear this out.

Let’s take a look at the many different games the Texas 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 Multi-state 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.

Powerball

Powerball might be the most well-known lottery game in the country. It recently made history with the world record for largest jackpot: $2.04 billion.

For just $2 a ticket, players select five numbers between 1-69 and one Powerball number between 1-26. For $1 more, players can engage the Power Play, which increases the winnings of any NON-jackpot prizes. You can buy single tickets or activate a subscription for the same lucky numbers in every drawing.

Powerball winners have racked nine- and ten-figure jackpots in this progressive-style jackpot game. Each drawing decides the value of the Power Play, but the highest-available multiplier is 10X.

Matching the Powerball alone will net a $4 prize as will matching the Powerball and any one number. To win the jackpot, players must match all five numbers and the Powerball. It is not necessary to match the sequence of the draw.

Drawings for Powerball occur every Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday at 09:59 p.m. from the Florida Lottery studio in Tallahassee, Florida.

Tickets can be purchased at TX Lottery retailers throughout the state as well as via the lotto app Jackpocket.

How to watch Powerball Drawings

A few Texas cities will carry the Powerball drawing live. Those are:

  • Houston: KHOU, CBS 11
  • Midland-Odessa: KMID, ABC 2
  • San Antonio: WOAI, NBC 4
  • San Antonio: KABB, Fox 3

For residents outside those markets, all drawings are livestreamed at Powerball.com.

Mega Millions

As the original multi-state draw game, Mega Millions has retained its stature over the years alongside Powerball.

Both games function in nearly the same way. In Mega Millions, players select five numbers between 1-70 and one Mega Ball between 1-25. A single game play costs $2, but for $1 more, players can engage a Megaplier, increasing the value of their NON-jackpot winnings.

You can buy single tickets or activate a subscription for the same lucky numbers in every drawing.

Mega Millions winners must match the five numbers plus the Gold Mega Ball to win the jackpot. It’s not necessary to match the sequence in order to win.

Drawings for Mega Millions are held Tuesday and Friday at 1o:00 p.m.

Tickets for Mega Millions can be purchased through all TX Lottery retailers as well as online.

How to watch Mega Millions drawings

They can be streamed live on the Mega Millions Youtube channel.

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:

  • Pick 3: Pick three numbers, each from 0 to 9, and select whether you want to play exact order, any order, both exact or any order, or combo (all exact order combinations on one ticket). Play for as little as $0.50, and depending on the chosen play style win up to $500. Choosing the Fireball feature doubles the ticket price and increases the potential payout. Drawings happen four times per day. 
  • 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 Texas Lottery 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 with Texas Lottery scratch off games.

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

There is an app that you can download from the Texas Lottery website that makes playing easier in several ways. While you cannot purchase tickets via the app, you can take advantage of a number of other helpful features and also take advantage of special second-chance drawings for non-winning tickets. You can also:

  • 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 is a third-party app that will legally purchase lottery tickets for you. The app has recently partnered with two teams–the Dallas Mavericks and the Dallas Stars–to become their digital lottery courier partner.

Lottery games available on the app include:

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

In addition to buying tickets through 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 use Jackpocket, however. In addition to 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 way it helps fund 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 $27.9 billion to the Foundation School Fund since 1997. In the fiscal year 2021 alone, that fund received nearly $2 billion from the lottery.

Veterans contributions are more recent but no less robust. Since 2009, the lottery has paid over $167 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 2021, those games paid out $23.4 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.
  • Feb. 28, 2022: Lottery continues its expansion of options for Texas grocery stores by allowing QUICKTICKET sales in Kroger stores.

Texas Lottery FAQ

What is the gambling age for the Texas Lottery?

18 or older. The Texas Lottery allows anyone inside the state lines over the age of 18 to play both the draw and scratch-off games.

Is it possible to play the Texas Lottery online?

Yes and no. The Texas Lottery itself does not offer any options for online ticket purchases. The commission’s app is an informational tool only. However, Texans can use the third-party Jackpocket app to make lottery purchases online. Texans should know, though, that Jackpocket’s online app still entails purchasing a physical lottery ticket. This is done by a Jackpocket employee who sends you a picture of your ticket and then secures it in a safe until the next lottery date. So, online does not mean paperless in this case.

How are lottery winnings taxed?

Lottery winnings all incur the same federal taxes, but, depending on the state, will incur varying state taxes as well.

Federal Taxes

All lottery winnings over $599 receive a flat federal tax of 24% right off the top. The remaining winnings are then subject to federal income tax. Depending on whether you choose to receive your earnings as a lump sum or annual annuity payment, your taxes will vary.

State Taxes

Most states take state income taxes out of lottery winnings as well. These taxes can range from 3-8%, with New York taxing lottery winnings the highest. The good news for Texans is that Texas is one of eight states that have no state income tax burden for lottery winnings. So, what you owe to the federal government is what you owe. Those states with no state income tax requirements are:

  • California
  • Florida
  • New Hampshire
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Washington
  • Wyoming

If I win a big jackpot, can I remain anonymous when I claim it?

Yes. Texas is one of only a few states that allows prize winners to remain anonymous. Winners of prizes over $1 million may choose to keep their identities hidden as long as they choose the lump sum payout, rather than the annuity option. According to the law, however, you must specify that you wish to remain anonymous at the time you claim the prize.

Can I receive my lottery winnings in different ways?

Yes, although you only have options if you win a large-sum jackpot. Winners of huge jackpots such as in PowerBall or Mega Millions may choose to receive their prize as either a lump sum or as an annuity. In other words, it is not possible to receive a $10 scratch-off prize in 33-cent installments for the next 30 years.

It’s best to speak with a financial advisor about how to claim your winnings for major jackpots, but in general taking a long-term annuity payment will save you the most on taxes. There are other ways though to reduce your tax burden. You can:

  • Make a one-time or annual charitable donation and deduct the amount from your income
  • Deduct your total gambling losses (assuming they don’t exceed your prize’s value)
  • Share your earnings with family and friends