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Texas lottery

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About Texas Lottery

The Texas Lottery came into existence in 1991, when Texas voters approved the state's Lottery Act by a 2-1 margin. The first lottery tickets in the Lone Star state were sold in May 1992, with tens of thousands of Texans attending lottery kickoff parties in 14 cities and the first ticket sold to Governor Ann Richards on the morning of May 29th. On that first day, 23.2 million tickets were sold by the Texas Lottery Commission, setting a world record for first day sales and earning back the state's investment in the Lottery start-up in just three hours.

Since that record-setting opening day, the state of Texas has paid out over $5 billion on winning tickets. Jackpot winners are not the only people that benefit from Texas Lotto. The state's education system and veterans program also get a payout, with proceeds of $1.313 billion going to Texas public schools and $16.2 million to the Fund for Veterans' Assistance in the year 2017 alone.

How does the Texas Lottery work?

The Texas lottery has a long list of games, and each works a little differently. Here, we'll go over how two of the most popular lottery games work; Mega Millions and Powerball.

Mega Millions – This multi-state game is a favorite for Texas lotto players. The drawing offers jackpot winners a minimum winning amount, of $40 million. To play, you pick 5 numbers from 1 to 70, and 1 Mega Ball number from 1 to 25. If you prefer, you can choose the Quick Pick option to have a set of numbers randomly generated for you. You can also choose the Megaplier feature – for additional cost – to increase any non-jackpot prize you may win by up to 5 times. Lastly, you can choose the Multi-Draw option to enter your numbers in up to 10 consecutive drawings. Then you simply pay for your Texas Lottery tickets and check your numbers against the winning ones, after the drawing. And if you're lucky enough to win, you get to choose how you would like to receive your winnings – annual payments or a lump sum. The Mega Millions drawing takes place on Tuesday and Friday nights, with winning numbers announced at 10:12 p.m. Central Time.

Powerball – Playing Powerball in Texas means taking your best shot at winning a jackpot that starts at $40 million. To play, you need to pick 5 numbers from 1 to 69 and 1 Powerball number from 1 to 26, or you can let Quick Pick choose them for you randomly. For an extra fee, you can use the Power Play option, which can increase any non-jackpot winnings by up to 10 times. Choosing the Multi-Draw option will allow you to play those same numbers in up to 10 drawings. Then you choose your payout option, either annual payments or a lump sum, pay for your lottery tickets and wait for the winning numbers to be announced, which takes place every Wednesday and Saturday at 10:12 p.m. Central Time.

One final thing to know if you are planning to play the Texas Lottery is that you will need to buy your tickets before 10:02 p.m. Central Time on Drawing nights. That's because lottery ticket sales are not available during Draw Break, which is from 10:02 p.m. to 10:15 p.m. Central Time.

How Much Tax do you Pay on Lottery Winnings in Texas?

Lottery winners in Texas will have to pay federal income tax on their winnings. Depending upon the size of your prize, the federal government may claim between 25 and 39.6 percent of your jackpot, according to Money magazine. The Texas Lottery Commission is obligated to withhold 24 percent of all funds over $5,000 from winning lottery tickets payouts, on behalf of the Federal Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The agency recommends that Texas Lottery winners seek professional tax assistance to help them ensure that their federal tax liability is calculated and addressed properly. Texas does not have a state income tax, so there will be no state taxes due on money won by Texas lottery players.

What are the Odds of Winning the Texas Lottery?

The odds of winning the Texas Lottery vary, according to which jackpot you choose to play. For instance, the odds of hitting the Texas Mega Millions jackpot are 1 in 302,575,950, and the overall odds of winning any prize in this lottery game are 1 in 24. Meanwhile, odds of winning the jackpot in Texas Powerball are 1 in 292,201,338 and the odds of winning any prize are 1 in 24.87.

You now know all there is to know about the Texas Lottery and how to play its more popular -- and most lucrative, lottery games. Now, it's time to take that information and put it to good use – Pick your lottery games, choose your lottery numbers and take your best shot at becoming the next Texas Lottery Jackpot winner. Remember, you can't win if you don't play.

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