Texas Lottery History
A Lottery bill was passed in the Texas House of Representatives in July 1991, and Texas voters approved an amendment to the state’s Constitution allowing a Lottery by a two-thirds majority in November. The Texas Lottery Commission was created to run the Lottery, and Gov. Ann Richards bought the first ticket on May 29, 1992 at Polk’s Feed Store in Oak Hill.
Players were enthusiastic, setting a world record for first-day sales as they bought 23.2 million tickets of the Lottery’s first game, the Lone Star Millions scratch-off, in 24 hours. The first week set another record, with sales of 102.4 million tickets.
Texas began selling Mega Millions tickets in December 2003, and the state got its first jackpot winner on October 4, 2004, when a Carrollton player hit the $101 million top prize. Texas joined Powerball in 2010, when a cross-selling agreement made it possible for states to sell both Powerball and Mega Millions tickets.
The Texas Lottery has an exciting range of in-state draw games for players to try their luck at. Learn more about your favorites below. The Lone Star State also continues to offer the big-dollar multi-state games Mega Millions and Powerball.
Lotto Texas launched with its first draw on November 14, 1992. Players were required to select six numbers from 1 to 50 and the first jackpot win came two weeks later when Janie Kallus from Schulenburg won $21 million. Changes to Lotto Texas were introduced on July 19, 2000, including the addition of four extra numbers to the pool and changes to how prize money was distributed.
The format was overhauled considerably ahead of the drawing on May 7, 2003, with players having to select five main numbers from 1 to 44 plus one Bonus Ball from a separate set of 1 to 44. The change helped to create the biggest Lotto Texas jackpot in history, as one player from El Paso matched all the numbers to win $145 million on June 19, 2004.
The game returned to its previous matrix of picking six numbers from 54 on April 26, 2006. Another big change happened on April 17, 2003 with the introduction of Extra! Sales of the game have remained strong ever since, helping the Texas Lottery to raise more than $35 billion in revenue for good causes since 1992.
A third weekly draw was added in August 2021, with numbers selected on a Monday for the first time in addition to the existing Wednesday and Saturday draws.
Texas Two Step
Two Step was introduced to Texans in May 2001, replacing the discontinued Texas Million game. To celebrate the launch of the brand new game, the Texas Lottery hosted a two-step dance contest during the annual Strawberry Festival in Pasadena. More than 500 couples entered the contest and the winning pair won a trip to Florida and tickets to see country music duo Brooks & Dunn.
The game saw its first million-dollar winner just a month after it launched, when a single ticket holder took home a jackpot worth $1.1 million before taxes on June 15. The following year, in February 2002, Gwendolyn Kelly of Cameron became the biggest single Two Step winner when she was the only player to hit a $1.5 million jackpot, a record that stood for over six years.
On April 12, 2004 the Texas Lottery Commission introduced changes to Two Step for the first time. Draw days were changed from Tuesday and Friday to Monday and Thursday in an announcement from the lottery’s Executive Director at the time, Reagan E. Greer.
The record for the biggest ever Two Step jackpot was broken on April 27, 2006 when three separate tickets split a prize worth $2.9 million. The record for the biggest single-ticket Two Step jackpot was set in December 2009, when one lucky ticket holder won $2.15 million.
Cash Five – originally styled “Cash 5” – was launched on October 10, 1995 with a marketing stunt involving five skydiving Elvis impersonators. The first drawing took place just a few days later, on October 13, 1995, and one lucky ticket holder won a jackpot worth over $224,000. Draws originally took place on Tuesdays and Fridays and players had to choose five numbers from 1 to 39. Monday and Thursday draws were added in November 1996.
The game was relaunched as Cash Five on July 29, 2002 and the game underwent some other changes at the same time. Two balls were removed from the number pool to make it a 5/37 game; a $2 prize for matching two numbers was added; and the draw frequency increased to six days out of seven. The overall odds of winning a prize improved from 1 in 100 to 1 in 8.
The odds of winning improved even further for the drawing on September 23, 2018, as two further numbers were removed to reduce the pool to 35. The fixed prize structure was also introduced, replacing the pari-mutuel system that had awarded payouts based on the number of winners and how many tickets were sold.
Texas Pick 3
Pick 3 was introduced to Texas on October 25, 1993, becoming the first new game to be introduced in the state since the lottery launched with Lotto Texas the previous year. The game began with one draw per day – what is now known as the Night draw – and plays totaled $1.2 million in the first day alone.
On April 29, 2002 the Pick 3 Day draw was added to the schedule and the twice-daily draws would be a fixture for more than a decade, until the game moved to four draws per day in September 2013.
A new feature called “Sum It Up!” was added to Pick 3 in November 2007. Players could opt in for an additional fee and they would win a prize if the sum of their chosen combination was equal to the sum of the winning combination. The prizes depended on the amount wagered and the sum achieved, as some were harder to hit than others, and players could win a prize in Sum It Up! without winning in the main Pick 3 draw.
In October 2018 the Texas Lottery Commission voted to replace Sum It Up! with Fireball for Pick 3 and Daily 4 in a bid to refresh both games and appeal to a greater number of players. The final Pick 3 with Sum It Up! draw occurred on April 27, 2019, with Fireball starting the following day.
Ticket sales for Daily 4 began on September 30, 2007, ahead of the first drawing on October 1. The game debuted with two daily draws and the new Sum It Up! feature, which was also introduced to Texas Pick 3 at the same time.
The frequency of Daily 4 draws increased to four times a day in September 2013. The Morning and Evening draws were added alongside the original Day and Night draws. Sum It Up! came to an end on April 27, 2019 after the Texas Lottery Commission previously voted to replace it with a brand new feature called Fireball. The first Daily 4 plus Fireball draw took place on April 28, a day after Sum It Up! was retired.
All or Nothing
The Texas Lottery Commission first voted to introduce a new game called All or Nothing in May 2012. The original idea was to have players picking 12 numbers and trying to match them with 12 of 24 possible winning numbers in every drawing. Tickets for the new game went on sale in September 2012, with the Texas Lottery emphasizing that it had the best overall odds of any state-run game.
Less than a year later and after 937 drawings, the Texas Lottery shut down sales of All or Nothing, citing a ‘design flaw’ in the game that could have potentially led to unusually high payouts. Sales resumed three months later, but not before the Texas Lottery introduced a liability cap to limit the maximum top prize payout in any one draw to $5 million.
Since 1992, the Texas Lottery has contributed more than $35 billion to good causes throughout the state, including education and veterans' services.
Until 1997, Lottery proceeds were transferred to the Texas General Fund, where they could be used for multiple purposes.
Since 1997, the majority of Lottery revenue (24.8% in 2020) has gone to support public education in the state through the Foundation School Fund.
In 2009, the Lottery introduced an instant game to raise money for the Fund for Veterans’ Assistance – multiple games are now sold to benefit veterans’ programs statewide.
In fiscal year 2021, 66.8% of every dollar spent on lottery tickets was returned to players as prize payouts. That’s an increase from 1992, which payouts were 45% of revenue.