Introduction to the Texas Lottery

Texas is both the second largest of the 50 US states after Alaska, and the second most populous state after California with over 26 million people. Since the Texas Lottery sold its first Lottery ticket in 1992, more than $43 billion has been won in prizes.




Texas Lottery Games

The Texas Lottery Commission’s sales consist of draw and instant (scratch card) lottery games.

Draw games include Lotto Texas with Lotto Extra, Pick 3 with Sum It Up, Daily 4 with Sum It Up, Cash Five, Texas Two Step, Mega Millions, Powerball and All or Nothing. In 2013 draw games sales increased by $49.0 million from the prior year’s sales total with the majority of the increase from Powerball and Power Play.

Instant tickets or “scratch-off” tickets are the other category with a wide variety of games available. Instant ticket sales for the fiscal year ending 31st August 2013 increased by $136.5 million or 4.4% over the previous year.

Lotto Texas

Lotto Texas, sometimes referred to as the Texas Lotto, was the first lottery draw game in the state, with ticket sales beginning on 7th November 1992. It was first drawn on 14th November 1992, with the first jackpot won on 28th November 1992. By its first anniversary, over $1 billion tickets had been sold. It was originally an annuity-only game with no cash option and only played on Saturdays. The "Quick Pick" option (lucky dip) was added on 29th May 1993.

The Extra! option was added to the Lotto Texas game on 14th April 2013,  and first played on 17th April 2013. To use this option it costs $1 more per play and gives players the chance to win $2 for matching 2 out of 6 numbers. Extra! also adds $10 to the base prize amount for matching 3 of 6 numbers, $100 for matching 4 of 6 numbers, and $10,000 for matching 5 of 6 numbers. There is no change to the jackpot prize amount.

Lotto Texas is drawn every Wednesday and Saturday at 10:12 pm Central Time and ticket sales are not available between 10:00 and 10:15 pm on those days. Players choose six numbers between 1 and 54 or mark the "QP" (Quick Pick or Lucky Draw) box and the lottery terminal selects random numbers.

Tickets for prizes up to and including $599 can be presented to any Texas Lottery retailer for validation and payment of prize. For prizes up to and including $1,000,000, the prize can be requested at any Lottery Claim Centre with a Texas Lottery claim form, or by post. Prizes larger than these must be claimed at Texas Lottery Headquarters in Austin no later than 180 days after the draw date.

In Lotto Texas, 40.47% of proceeds from ticket sales goes to the jackpot winner(s). The jackpot prize is the greater of the total allocations from Lotto Texas ticket sales or the amount advertised. 2.23% is allocated to winners of the second prize (5 out of 6 numbers) and 3.28% for the third prize (4 out of 6 numbers).

Janie Kallus of Schulenburg, Texas was the first winner of a Texas Lotto jackpot, winning $21.8 million on 28th November 1992. Kallus had her own way of choosing numbers, and told the press "I opened up the Houston Chronicle that afternoon and picked the numbers from other state lotteries. Then I added number 50 since it appeared the most often." She was a 65-year-old nurse at the time and sadly passed away on 9th January 2014.



Lottery24 - Texas Lottery

Lottery24 - Texas Two Step Lottery


Texas Two Step

The Texas Two Step is another game played in the state, with two draws a week - Monday and Thursday. Tickets for this game first went on sale on 13th May 2001 and the first game was drawn on 18th May 2001. As the name implies, there are two steps to the game:

Step 1: select four numbers from 1 to 35 in the upper play area of the ticket. 

Step 2: select one Bonus Ball number from 1 to 35 in the lower play area of the ticket  
Jackpots start at $200,000 and the amount rolls over to the next game until someone wins.

Overall odds are 1:32.4 and the prize pay-out is estimated to be a minimum of 50% of Texas Two Step sales. The record jackpot so far for this game is $2.9 million, won on 27th April 2006.




All or Nothing

The Texas Lottery's newest draw game, All or Nothing, began on 9th September 2012. It is played four times a day between Monday and Saturday and costs $2 a game. Twelve numbers are drawn from a choice of 1 to 24, and the jackpot is won if either ALL are selected or NONE.

In either case, a winner receives a $250,000 prize.

   Lottery24 - Texas All or Nothing

Pick 3

Pick 3 is another lottery game played in Texas, again four times daily. Players select three single-digit numbers between 0 and 9, and then how to play them: Exact Order, Any Order, Exact/Any Order, Combo. This game only costs 60 cents to play, but for $1 players can add the Sum-It-Up feature. If the sum of the three numbers chosen equals the sum of the winning numbers, regardless of the numbers themselves, the player wins. If Pick 3 is played with Sum-It-Up, a top prize of $500 is available. Pick 3 began on 25th October 1993 and took $1.2 million in sales on the first day, however the Sum-It-Up feature didn’t begin until 12th November 2007.

Lottery 24- Texas Powerball


Texas lottery Powerball

Sales for the Texas Powerball lottery  began on 31st January 2010 and the first drawing including Texas took place three days later. To date, Paul McDowell is the only winner of the Texas lottery Powerball jackpot.

Texas lottery Mega Millions

Texas became the 11th state to join Mega Millions in 2003 and the Texas lottery Mega Millions first draw was on 5th December that year. Since then, ten players have won the Texas lottery Mega Millions jackpot, the biggest of which was $330 million on 31st August by SB Alchemy Holdings Ltd.



Lottery24 - Texas Mega Millions


Texas Lottery Winners

Paul McDowell

Paul McDowell from the tiny town of Ravenna in Texas won the Powerball jackpot on 29th May 2013; the first since the state joined the game. The quiet, bearded man said he might buy some cows and a tractor with his winnings. The numbers drawn were 9, 14, 17, 49 and 57, with the Powerball number 2. McDowell chose the cash option, which meant that the amount of his prize was $24,906,600 before taxes. McDowell bought his ticket on the way home from work at the Lone Star Food Store, better known as "On the Run", on West Bells Boulevard in nearby Bells. The store became eligible for a $400,000 retailer bonus and went on to hold a party for the folk of Bells to celebrate.



Lottery 24 -  Powerball winner Paul McDowell wins $40m in Texas

William R. Kiefer

William R. Kiefer from Katy in Texas won an incredible $144 million on the state-wide Mega Millions on 29th January 2010. His winning numbers were 1, 10, 22, 23 and 38 plus the Mega Ball number 19. Kiefer said that he only had three plans for his big win: retiring, donating to worthy causes and encouraging others to do the same. “I plan to give 60 percent of all after-tax winnings to charity.” In a statement, he also said “I will not provide any interviews except to the Texas Catholic Herald”.

John Jones

John Jones, another Mega Millions winner saw his numbers came up on 1st January 2008. They were 13, 16, 25, 30 and 54 with the Mega Ball 11 which won him an advertised jackpot of $33 million. As he chose the Cash Value Option, he received a single payment of $20,024,272, before taxes.

Billie Bob Harrell Jr

Unfortunately, not all jackpot winners go on to lead lives of happiness and joy. Back in June 1997, Billie Bob Harrell Jr, a deeply religious man and former Pentecostal preacher, won $31 million in the Texas Lotto game. He had fallen on hard times and was struggling to support his wife and children, so a multi-million dollar win seemed like the end of his financial woes.

However, some bad deals and the responsibility of all this money led to a split from his wife less than a year later and then tragically, in May 1999, Harrell committed suicide.

Joan Ginther

Another Texas lottery winner was Joan Ginther, known as ‘the luckiest woman in the world’.

Incredibly, Ginther won 4 lotteries, and none were small ones: First, she won $5.4 million; then a decade later, $2 million; two more years after that $3 million; and lastly with a $50 scratch-off ticket bought in a rural farming community, Ginther won $10 million in her biggest windfall yet. The odds of this are a mind-blowing one in eighteen septillion. That's 18 followed by 24 zeroes. To put this into perspective, there are only one septillion grains of sand on Earth.

The maths professor with a PhD from Stanford University won all four with scratch cards.

Thousands of Texans have won smaller amounts of money in other lottery games. In El Paso, Lloyd Parker won $8,170 playing Pick 3. Sheila Rhodes played Cash Five to win a $16,242 prize. On the 3rd December 2013, Veterans Cash made Zachary Downing from Fort Worth $25,000 richer, a lovely early Christmas present. Nilda Arteaga won $33,000 with the Loteria scratch card game in January 2014 and Texas Two Step was lucky for Adelita Van Wert who won $2,047.


Texas Lottery Taxes

The official rules of the Texas Lottery Commission are in the Texas Administrative Code (TAC), Title 16, Part 9, Chapters 401 to 403. The TAC is maintained by the Office of the Secretary of State.

The Texas Lottery Commission is allowed use the winner’s photo, likeness and identity in all forms of media and publicity for publicity and informational purposes. As with most other US lotteries, players must be at least 18 years old. Winning tickets must be claimed within 180 days or the prize is forfeited. For scratch card tickets, the time limit begins when a game is closed by the Commission and for drawn games; the time limit begins on the date of the draw.

While there is no tax on lottery prizes of less than $5,000, the US Government’s Internal Revenue Service (IRS) take 25% in tax on bigger prizes. Texas is one of the few states that do not charge taxes on lottery winnings and neither does it take more in the form of income tax.

The Texas Lottery Commission always advise people to sign the back of their tickets upon purchase. If a player is lucky enough to win a large amount, they are strongly advised to take legal and financial guidance and maybe even set-up a trust with their winnings. Tickets can be bought from a licensed retailer in Texas and The State Lottery Act prohibits the purchase of tickets with credit or food stamps.

Texas Lottery History

The Texas Constitution first passed legislation to create a state lottery on 11th July 1991. Texas Lottery's first game was the scratch card ticket Lone Star Millions, which sold 23.2 million tickets in its first day setting a then-world record. Currently, 36.5% of Texas’ population play a lottery game. Historically, 1995 saw the highest level at 71%. The lottery sales districts with the highest and the lowest participation rates in any of the Texas Lottery games in 2013 were El Paso 48.9% and Tyler 30.6%. 

The first lottery game was Lone Star Millions and the very first ticket was sold at 6am on 29th May 1992 at Polk's Feed Store in Oak Hill. The Texas Lottery Commission was later formed in 1993 to take over management of the Lottery from the Texas Controller of Public Accounts and is headquartered in Austin, Texas.

Other Texas Lottery Information

Supporting education and veterans

The Texas Lottery supports public education and has generated over $21 billion for the state of Texas since the first ticket was sold in 1992. Before 1997, the proceeds were allocated to the General Revenue Fund but now go to the Foundation School Fund to support public education in Texas. The Texas Lottery has now contributed more than $16 billion to the Foundation School Fund which is over 26% of ticket revenue. 

The Foundation School Program is the primary source of state funding for Texas schools. It aims to ensure that all school districts, regardless of property wealth, receive "substantially equal access to similar revenue per student at similar tax effort." Another change to the finances was made in 2010 when the Fund for Veterans Assistance became another beneficiary of lottery revenue. There are 1.7 million veterans living in Texas, including over 100,000 who served in Iraq and Afghanistan.



There are now more than 17,000 lottery retailers in Texas. They do not accept credit cards or food stamps as payment for tickets, but debit cards, cash, cheques and Texas Lottery coupons or vouchers are acceptable forms of payment. Federal law disallows the sale of lottery tickets by mail or telephone and also prohibits transportation of tickets across state lines for resale.


Texas lottery sales

In 2013, lottery ticket sales in Texas totalled $4,376,286,456. This was split between instant games’ sales of $3,222,593,714 and drawn games’ sales of $1,153,692,742. Instant games obviously make up the vast majority of sales, accounting for about 75%. Pick 3 accounts for 6.7%; Powerball 5.7%; Lotto Texas 2.9% and Mega Millions 2.6%.

Current Jackpots