Wow, I saw this info hit my email inbox today and it made me chuckle a bit because I realized that I have been a radio guy longer than the Texas Lottery has been in existence. 

I remember back in the day when the Texas Lottery came along, the big arguments were:

  • Should the government be running a form of gambling?
  • Of course, the churches were almost all against it because, Gambling Bad.
  • Gambling addiction.
  • People who can least afford to lose money spend it on a chance at hitting the big one.

Frankly, I guess most of those questions are still there, but let's jump in and see how the Texas Lottery has done in the last 3 decades.

On May 29, 1992, the very first lottery purchase in Texas was made by then-Gov. Ann Richards, it just happened to be a Lone Star Millions scratch ticket for $1. It happened at Polk’s Feed Store in Oak Hill, Texas. During the first 24 hours, the Texas Lottery set a world record for first-day sales when Texans purchased 23.2 million tickets. The Texas Lottery’s startup costs, with interest, were earned back during the first three hours of ticket sales. That's amazing.

1992 Gov Ann Richards purchases the first Texas Lottery scratch off. - Texas Lottery Commission
1992 Gov Ann Richards purchases the first Texas Lottery scratch-off. - Texas Lottery Commission
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The celebratory 30TH Anniversary scratch ticket game launched in April of this year featuring more than $24.9 million in total prizes, five top prizes of $100,000, and more than 217,000 prizes ranging from $30 to $300. The game is currently available where Texas Lottery scratch ticket games are sold.

“The Texas Lottery is thrilled to reach this special milestone, and over the last year we have eagerly celebrated the run-up to this historic moment with the Texans who have made the first 30 years of the Texas Lottery such an incredible success story,” said Gary Grief, executive director of the Texas Lottery. “The Texas Lottery would not be positioned as one of the preeminent lotteries in the industry without our founders, players, retailers, vendor staff and Texas Lottery Commission employees. As we look toward the future, the Texas Lottery remains deeply committed to fulfill its mission of generating revenue for public education and veterans’ services in the State of Texas.”

From startup through April 2022, the Texas Lottery has generated more than $122 billion in cumulative sales, creating more than $34.8 billion in revenue for the State of Texas, including funding contributions for the Foundation School Fund and the Fund for Veterans’ Assistance. Additionally, more than $75 billion in prizes have been distributed to Texas Lottery players and more than $6.4 billion has been paid to retailers in commissions, incentives and through the retailer bonus program.

In the Fiscal Year 2021, nearly 97 cents of every dollar of Texas Lottery sales went to prizes, supporting the Foundation School Fund, Fund for Veterans’ Assistance, other state programs and retailer compensation.

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For a complete list of milestones from the Texas Lottery’s first 30 years, click here.

Bottom Line

As a money-making business for the Great State of Texas, you could say this has been a complete success. Do the questions and arguments still remain, of course they do. Will we ever see it go away, not likely.

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