Winning Tuesday’s estimated $1.58 billion Mega Millions jackpot could give you all the fame and fortune you want. Luckily for Texans who play, opting for only fortune is a choice.
Thanks to a law enacted by the state Legislature in 2017, Texas lottery players winning prizes worth more than $1 million can have their privacy protected, allowing them to remain anonymous. A new rule created that year by the Texas Lottery Commission allows only the name of the city or county of residence of the winning ticket holder as public information.
None of Texas’ $1 million plus lottery winners have been revealed this year. Texas Lottery news releases mentioning the wins since January all say the “claimant elected to remain anonymous.” It’s a good bet if the winning Mega Millions ticket in Friday’s drawing is bought in Texas, we’ll never know who owns it.
How to get Mega Millions tickets online in Texas
While the Texas Lottery does not sell Mega Millions tickets online, you can get them through third-party options such as Jackpocket.
Jackpocket is a mobile application for Android and iOS devices. A third-party app that’s not affiliated with the Texas Lottery, Jackpocket will legally purchase lottery tickets for you. Along with Mega Millions, users can also purchase Powerball tickets.
The Dallas Mavericks, Dallas Stars and Texas Rangers have Jackpocket as a business partner.
There are other third-party options to purchase in the country, such as Jackpot.
Powerball and Mega Millions tickets are also sold at lottery retail locations across the state.
History of lottery anonymity in Texas
Anonymity wasn’t always an option for folks playing the lottery in Texas. Before 2017, the lottery commission regularly released the personal information of winners. At the time, the Texas Public Information Act dictated that the lottery commission had to release names, hometowns and winners’ prize amounts.
Before the 85th Texas Legislature’s session, Rep. Ryan Guillen (D-Rio Grande City) introduced House Bill 59 to allow lottery winners of $1 million or more to remain anonymous.
In 2017, Guillen said he introduced the legislation to stem the media storm surrounding large winnings and personal identifiable information. He believed that winners of large prizes were targets for burglary or from family for monetary assistance.
“Giving large lottery winners the ability to remain anonymous to the public is an easy fix that can provide much-needed peace and quiet to the lives of some lucky Texans,” Guillen said at the time.
The rest of the Legislature agreed with Guillen’s reasoning. The Texas House passed the bill, 145-0, and the Senate also moved the legislation forward for the governor’s signature with unanimous approval.
Details on remaining anonymous
According to the 2017 law, if a lottery player chooses the cash-out option of a game, his or her name could remain permanently anonymous if the player chooses. If a person opts for periodic payments, the winner’s name could be released after the 30th day of when the prize is claimed according to TLC rules.
The law does not allow winners to hide from child support or tax obligations.
According to Mega Millions, the rules around staying anonymous for its game all come down to a state’s disclosure laws. Along with the Lone Star State, Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and Wyoming all have laws that offer complete or partial anonymity for winners, depending on the value of the prize.
Largest lottery payouts in US history
|1. $2.04 billion||Powerball||Nov. 7, 2022||California|
|2. $1.586 billion||Powerball||Jan. 13, 2016||California, Florida and Tennessee|
|3. $1.58 billion||Mega Millions||Aug. 8, 2023||Florida|
|4. $1.537 billion||Mega Millions||Oct. 23, 2018||South Carolina|
|5. $1.348 billion||Mega Millions||Jan. 13, 2023||Maine|
|6. $1.337 billion||Mega Millions||July 29, 2022||Illinois|
|7. $1.08 billion||Powerball||July 19, 2023||California|
|8. $1.05 billion||Mega Millions||Jan. 22, 2021||Michigan|
|9. $768.4 million||Powerball||March 27, 2019||Wisconsin|
|10. $758.7 million||Powerball||Aug. 23, 2017||Massachusetts|
Tuesday’s drawing will be the third-largest jackpot in U.S. lottery history at an estimated $1.58 billion. In October 2018, one ticket purchased in South Carolina claimed the highest-ever payout for Mega Millions at $1.537 billion. Tuesday’s drawing will top that. Including Tuesday’s drawing, the Mega Millions jackpot has topped $1 billion five times. The game also topped that mark in October 2018, January 2021, July 2022 and January 2023.
The Mega Millions jackpot has been growing for the past three months. The last jackpot winner occurred April 18. A ticket holder walked away with $20 million. The odds of winning a Mega Millions jackpot are about 1 in 302.6 million, and the overall odds of winning any Mega Millions prize across all tiers are close to 1 in 24.