In November of 1991, the State of Texas legislators approved a constitutional amendment that created the State Lottery. The majority of money collected is directed at Texas schools. The lottery began operating in 1992 with two types of games, instant games and lotto.
Instant games or ‘scratchers’ are available at all retailer stores than have a contract with the Lotto. Retailers include grocery stores, gas stations, convenience and liquor store where scratch-offs can be purchased. New games are introduced regularly throughout the year with some of them having a theme to relate to the time of year. For example, a scratch-off game called Holiday Millionaire was started in time for the holiday season. Many of the games advertise in the name, the top winning amount of money for the game, such as $1,000,000 Club, $300,000 Casino Thrills and $50,000 Mania. The individual price for a scratch-off ticket varies for each game. Most instant games cost between $1 and $5 per ticket. Some of the games with the highest pay-offs can cost up to $30.00 for one ticket.
Lotto Texas was the first lotto game. People playing the game try to guess which numbers will be randomly drawn and match three, five or six numbers to win money prizes. The current version of Lotto Texas has players choosing five numbers from 1 through 44 and then one bonus number from 1 through 44 located on a playslip. People who do not want to choose their own numbers can ask the retailer for a ‘Quick Pick’. A quick pick is a set of numbers that is generated randomly by a computer. If you are particularly fond of your chosen numbers, you can check a box and have the numbers played up to ten future drawings. Each drawing, with one set of numbers, costs $1. You have two options of how to receive your money and you have to pick when you purchase your drawing. The first is to have your winnings given to you in twenty-five annual payments. The second is to take the ‘Cash Value Option’, which means to take one lump sum. This typically averages out to half of the jackpot amount. Drawings are held every Wednesday and Saturday evening at 10:12 p.m. Central time.
In October of 2003, Texas joined Mega Millions, making it the eleventh state to join this multi-state game. It was authorized by House Bill 3459 and signed by the governor in June. The drawings are held in Georgia on Tuesdays and Fridays with each play costing $1. Using a playslip, players pick five numbers from 1 through 52 and one Mega Ball number from another set of 1 through 52 numbers. The jackpot for this game starts at $10 million. People like playing this lotto as the jackpot totals can reach get to $300 million or more on rare occasions. Texas added one thing to this game when joining. It is called the Megaplier and can multiple their non-jackpot winning amounts by two, three or four times.
Other lotto type games that are available in Texas are the Texas Two Step, which has players choosing four numbers from 1 through 35 and a bonus ball number. Cash Five, which awards prizes for matching two, three, four or five numbers from a field of 37. Pick 3 is a twice a day, six days a week drawing that costs .50 each play. Six are during the day and the other six are at night. You pick three numbers from 0 through 9. The top prize amount is $500 on a $1 play.