Texans are buying lottery tickets during the pandemic — a lot of them.
The Texas Lottery announced it achieved $6.704 billion in sales during its 10th-consecutive record-breaking year. This is a $452.5 million increase (7.2%) from 2019, according to the Texas Lottery, and the increase in sales means $1.684 billion goes toward Texas education and veterans.
“Never in the 28-year history of the Texas Lottery has a year unfolded quite like Fiscal Year 2020 did, and our success is attributed first and foremost to our hard-working retailers,” said Gary Grief, executive director of the Texas Lottery. “Understanding that nearly all of the 20,000 retail locations where lottery tickets are sold were deemed ‘essential service’ locations, we are proud to close out this fiscal year with a new sales record, and more importantly, provide another record-breaking year of revenue for public schools and veterans’ services in Texas.”
This year’s revenue transfer included $1.661 billion to the Foundation School Fund and $22.2 million to the Fund for Veterans’ Assistance, the lottery’s largest contributions to Texas education and Texas veterans to-date.
The Foundation School Fund helps Texas school districts pay for teacher salaries, utilities, equipment, bilingual education, special education, gifted and talented education, and career and technical education.
The Fund for Veterans’ Assistance makes grants available to eligible charitable organizations, local government agencies, and Veterans Service Organizations that provide direct services to Texas veterans and their families.
The Texas Lottery has now contributed more than $25.7 billion to Texas public education and more than $142 million to Texas veterans since the dedication of such funds by the Texas Legislature.
It is hard to know the reason for the increase in lottery sales, but perhaps it is tied to the pandemic’s unemployment and the hope that a gamble might just pay off.
Although other prizes have been won throughout the year, the popular Lotto Texas jackpot, now estimated at $45.5 million, hasn’t had a winner since mid-January, when a Laredo resident claimed a prize of $17.5 million.