Public Schools Losing In Texas Lottery Payout

By Jack Fink, CBS 11 News

GARLAND (CBSDFW.COM) – While lottery sales and prize payouts have increased since 1998, the money given to public schools from the Texas Lottery last year decreased about $200,000 compared to what they received then.

Since 1992, the Texas Lottery Commission has given public schools $18 billion dollars, according to commission figures. A 20-year lottery watchdog, however, says schools should be making even more money.

Garland resident Dawn Nettles operates the Lotto Report, where she closely tracks each of the lottery’s seven games with drawings, their prize payouts and sales.

“I caught them cheating Lotto Texas winners a number of years ago,” she said. “So I’ve watched them ever since then.”

Last year, the Texas Lottery Commission brought in $3.74 billion in sales and issued $2.3 billion in prize payouts. The amount public schools received peaked in 1998, when they brought in $1.2 billion from the lottery. Back then, lotto sales were nearly $3.1 billion and payouts sat at $1.65 billion.

However, despite this increase, public schools received about $1 billion last year.

That’s because about 75 percent of the lottery’s sales come from instant or scratch-off games. And because of the way the rules are set up, the state funds a higher percentage of the prize money, leaving less for schools.

In a perfect world, sales would cover all of the payouts. But Nettles said sales haven’t been strong enough in recent years, meaning Texas must make up the difference, paying more than it normally would.

“The schools? They’re losing,” Nettles said. “The state of Texas is losing.”

She said she’s found jackpot winners of two games, Lotto Texas and Texas 2-Step, have made out too well at the expense of public schools. Nettles said since 2006, records show schools have lost out on about $30 million because the lottery overpaid Lotto Texas Winners.

And since January 2008, schools have lost out on nearly $2.5 million because the lottery overpaid Texas 2-Step prize winners.

Nettles said she believes schools are receiving less because the state has to pay more.

“It comes from the state lottery account,” said Bobby Heith, spokesman for the Texas Lottery Commission.

Heith acknowledged that some of the lottery’s games don’t always measure up to their jackpots.

“That’s what we’d like to see our jackpots do; grow to a point where sales can support,” he said.

As for the lottery’s unclaimed prizes, they amounted to $87 million last year. Since 2003 through this year, that total has amounted to nearly $500 million. None of that is designated to public schools.

In 2003, state law required that the money go to the state’s teaching hospitals or the state’s general revenue fund.


One Comment

  1. Carrie says:

    States teaching hospitals? Never heard of that before. And if the state’s general revenue fund got the 500 million WHY am I hearing the state of Texas has a huge deficet? Could it be someone has deep pockets?? Just wondering??

  2. J Michael says:

    UT, A&M, Tech are all state subsidized universities with Medical schools, thus teaching hospitals. The subsidies keep tuition affordable for Texas residents.

    State of Texas deficit is approx. 20B amongst all state agencies(100b+). youre are looking for .5% of budget amongst the bureacracy of the state of Texas.

    The question needs to go to the republican executive and legislative branches of gov’t that have controlled Texas for 15 years.

  3. Hank says:

    seems to me that the quick pick feature of Texas Lotto is rigged to lessen chances of a win. I buy two ten dollar tickets Wednesday and two again on Saturday. Invariably, the ticket will repeat the same number. One ticket with 10 lines will have 3 of same number on the 5th spot.. A ticket with 50 numbers will have only 4 of the same number on entire ticket. I seldom win anything.

    1. C Bauer says:

      That’s because the odds of winning are virtually impossible, genius. If you knew anything about mathematical permutations, you’d never play again. You’re much more than likely to repeat that 3 of the same number on the 5th spot thing 10,000 times, than winning the jackpot. 25,827,165 to ONE. Think about it. If you took almost 26 million quarters, stacked them, and then was asked to pull one that may have a green dot in the center, how many years do you think you’d have to do that continuously before you got that coin?

      By the way, I play, but only one entry. That’s all you need. Whether 1 or 100,000 tickets, your odds don’t change much at all in your favor. It’s all LUCK.

  4. Matthew says:


  5. JS says:

    Interesting. I bet if we put a 12 year old in charge that has been successful selling lemonade or snow cones we would be better off. Funny how something that could be so successful and beneficial is overcomplicated and a loser.

  6. Nonya says:

    Check out It can tell you how much money is spent on each student, how much of that actually makes it into the classroom, what the average teacher salary is, and what the Superintendent’s salary is. It’s frightening to see the percentage of money that is allocated to actually classroom instruction vs. the administrative overhead.

  7. Slick RIck says:

    The schools aren’t benefiting from the Texas Lottery? File under, “No Sh-t.”

  8. Ms. M says:

    Also, in case no one knows this, the Texas Lottery performs 6 ‘pre-test’ pulls in the Texas Lotto lottery to make sure the machines are working properly (yeah, right!). I’m pretty sure with the technology available, the Texas Lottery knows immediately if one of their pulls has produced a winner so they use up all their pulls probably in the hopes they can pull a ‘no-winner’ which is probably why the Texas Lotto has very vew winners. A lot less than the Mega-Millions and the Powerball lotteries for sure.

  9. Duckman says:

    Really?? This is what ya’ll go on about? Are they cheating the schools? Are they cheating us? Is it rigged? Look at the odds against you.
    It is called gambling, folks! It is just another way to put money into the pool. Some of it to fund schools. The rest is government waste. Why does any of this surprise ya’ll? I’m sure you have the same odds walking around a casino randomly putting quarters in slot machines. So why do it? Because there are winners. Because we can lose a dollar or two here and there. Because some school somewhere might have kept one more teacher or got a new microscope or something. As the one guy indicated that we shouldn’t be surprised (minus the curse word). So play it or don’t. Find out if there is someone who regulates the darn thing and complain to them about the mispraportions and such. Bottom line is that you can’t win anything if you don’t play.

  10. Melissa says:


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