Frequently Asked Questions
- How and where do I claim my prize?
- Where does the money go?
- How do I make an Open Records request?
- How do I contact the Texas Lottery Commission?
- How do I get a job with the Texas Lottery Commission?
- How can I get drawing results?
- What should I do when I purchase my lottery tickets?
- Can I buy tickets from outside Texas by mail, phone, or on the Internet?
- Can I use a credit card to pay for lottery tickets? What about a check?
- How long is a winning ticket valid?
- How much of a prize is taken out for taxes?
- With Cash Value Option, how much does the jackpot winner receive?
- When do I choose Cash Value Option or Annual Payments? Can I choose when I come to collect the jackpot?
- Can I cash my ticket at the store? I tried recently and the retailer refused to pay my winning ticket. What can be done?
- Why didn't my ticket validate, even though I know it's a winner?
- How are prize amounts figured in Lotto Texas?
- Can I play as part of a group?
- If I join with a group of players, can more than one person claim a prize on the same ticket?
- May I assign, or sell, my lottery prize installment payments?
- How does Quick Pick work?
- How is the jackpot invested to pay 30 annual payments?
- Why don't my local TV stations carry the drawings live anymore?
- How can I become a Texas Lottery retailer?
- We want to hold a lottery but don't know if it's legal. Can you give us some advice?
- How do I obtain a copy of my Texas Lottery ticket sales license renewal?
- What do the terminal tones mean when a ticket is scanned?
How can I get drawing results?
The easiest way is right here on our Web site. The results of the most recent drawings appear on the home page. You can also get results from previous drawings.
Results can also be obtained from any Texas Lottery retailer.
What should I do when I purchase my lottery tickets?
Check your ticket(s) upon receipt to ensure they are correct and are the ticket(s) you intended to purchase. Sign Your Ticket upon receipt.
Can I buy tickets from outside Texas by mail, phone, or on the Internet?
State laws and regulations do not permit the sale of tickets by mail, phone, or Internet. Also, federal laws and regulations restrict such sales. You must buy your tickets from a licensed retailer here in Texas.
Can I use a credit card to pay for lottery tickets? What about a check?
The State Lottery Act prohibits purchase of tickets by credit or with Food Stamps. Retailers, at their own discretion, may accept a check for tickets. Retailers can accept a debit card for payment.
How long is a winning ticket valid?
Draw Game (Lotto Texas, Mega Millions, Powerball, Cash Five, Pick 3, Daily 4, Texas Two Step and All or Nothing) winning tickets are valid for 180 days from the date of the drawing. Scratch-off tickets are valid for 180 days from the close date of the game set by the Texas Lottery.
How much of a prize is taken out for taxes?
Players who win prizes over $5,000 will get to keep more of their winnings as a result of the Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003, signed May 28. Because the new tax rate is lower for citizens and resident aliens, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will require less withholding from the winners’ payments. The previous Act, effective Aug. 6, 2001, specified a gradual decrease in the withholding rate over a period of years. The new law, which replaces the 2001 Act, reduces the tax rate to 25 percent, and the effective date is retroactive as of Jan 1, 2003. This is a tax rate decrease of two percent on prizes over $5,000 for U.S. citizens and resident aliens.
While there is no withholding on lottery prizes of less than $5,000, unless paid in installments or to a nonresident alien individual, winnings are still subject to income tax. However, the 2003 decrease in the tax rate applies to all income, including lottery prizes. In addition, changes in deductions may also reduce the amount of income tax liability, depending upon each individual’s personal situation. The IRS may refund any funds that exceed the individual’s tax liability for 2003 when the winner files his or her annual income tax return. The winner should consult a legal or financial tax expert to determine his or her tax liability.
For winners who are not U.S. citizens or resident aliens, the tax withholding rate has not changed. The withholding rate for nonresident alien individuals is still 30 percent. The Texas Lottery withholds 30 percent on prizes of $600 or more.
The new 2003 tax rate schedule and other changes included in the Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003 are available at the following IRS Web site: http://www.irs.ustreas.gov/
With Cash Value Option, how much does the jackpot winner receive?
You may find the estimated cash value of the current estimated annuitized jackpot on the home page of our Web site.
When do I choose Cash Value Option or Annual Payments? Can I choose when I come to collect the jackpot?
Currently, the choice must be made at the time the ticket is purchased, and cannot be changed. This is a Texas Lottery policy established in response to IRS rulings that impact the way the jackpot is taxed.
Can I cash my ticket at the store? I tried recently and the retailer refused to pay my winning ticket. What can be done?
All retailers are authorized, but not required, to pay prizes of $599 or less. Retailers are not required to keep cash on hand to pay all tickets. They have the option of paying by check or money order. If they choose to pay by money order, they may not charge the player any fee for the money order.
You may also take the ticket directly to the Texas Lottery Claim Center nearest you, Claim Center locations.
Why didn't my ticket validate, even though I know it's a winner?
If you were unable to redeem your ticket, we invite you to call our Customer Service Hotline at 1-800-375-6886 and speak with a Communications Specialist. They can assist you with information on how to proceed.
There are instances when an on-line ticket that appears to be a winner cannot be validated. It may be that the on-line ticket was previously validated. Due to high volume, validated ticket information is purged from the system 14 days after the initial validation. If a retailer validates a ticket and an attempt is made to scan and validate the ticket a second time during the first 14 days, the ticket will generate the message, “Previously Paid.” However, 14 days after the initial validation, the system will no longer recognize the ticket as a winner, and the message will change to, “Sorry not a Winner.”
You may also submit your ticket to the Texas Lottery Commission, Attn: Claim Center, PO Box 16600, Austin, Texas 78761-6600. Please include a detailed letter with as much information as possible (date, time, location of ticket purchase, any other retailer locations where you tried to redeem the ticket, etc.). We will research the ticket and contact you with our findings. The Texas Lottery Commission is not responsible for tickets lost or damaged in the mail.
How are prize amounts figured in Lotto Texas?
In connection with each draw, 40.47 percent of the proceeds from Lotto Texas ticket sales will be allocated to the 6-of-6 (jackpot) prize. The jackpot amount will be divided evenly among all jackpot winners. If there is no winner, the amount allocated for the jackpot prize will become part of the jackpot prize for the next draw. The jackpot prize will be the greater of the total allocations from Lotto Texas ticket sales or the amount advertised.
In connection with each draw, 2.23 percent of the proceeds from Lotto Texas ticket sales will be allocated to the 5-of-6 (second) prize. The allocation will be divided evenly among all winners at that level. Prizes will be rounded to the nearest dollar. If winning ticket includes EXTRA then the second prize includes an additional $10,000. Any part of the second prize allocation for a drawing that is not paid in prizes will be carried forward and will become part of the second prize for the next drawing. In connection with each draw, 3.28 percent of the proceeds from Lotto Texas ticket sales will be allocated to the 4-of-6 (third) prize. The allocation will be divided evenly among all winners at that level. Prizes will be rounded to the nearest dollar. If winning ticket included EXTRA then the third prize includes an additional $100. Any part of the third prize allocation for a drawing that is not paid in prizes will be carried forward and will become part of the third prize for the next drawing. The 3-of-6 (fourth) prize is $3, and 4.02 percent of Lotto Texas ticket sales is allocated for the fourth prize. If winning ticket included EXTRA then the fourth prize includes an additional $10. If winning ticket included EXTRA then the 2-of-6 prize is $2.
The Lotto Texas prize chart is listed below:
Can I play as part of a group?
Yes, players may play as a group though only one individual or legal entity may claim a prize (see #17, below). Players who join together to purchase lottery tickets are encouraged to consider putting the group’s agreement in writing before purchasing a ticket. Below is a list of suggestions players may want to consider before forming a lottery pool. Following these suggestions would not constitute the formation of a legal entity for the purposes of claiming a prize. There are other ways to set out and define a group’s relationship and it is recommended that a group that purchases a ticket seek professional advice, including but not limited to legal and financial advice, before claiming a prize. These suggestions may not be appropriate for all circumstances and are not intended to replace the services of other professional advice that the group might seek. An agreement between a group of players might include the following: • a statement that the group is joining together to purchase and own lottery tickets and share any resulting prizes; • the names of all of the participants, including the amount each contributed and the total amount spent to purchase the tickets; • a statement that a player is not considered a participant or a member of the group if they have not contributed money or signed the agreement; • the name of the individual who is authorized and may act on behalf of the group and, if you wish, list any specific responsibilities and duties this individual may have if the group were to claim a prize; • a statement on how prizes would be divided among the participants in the group, including a non-cash prize if awarded; • a description of the tickets purchased including the drawing date(s) of the tickets, copies of the tickets, and/or list the ticket numbers.
If I join with a group of players, can more than one person claim a prize on the same ticket?
No. The Texas Lottery Commission will pay only one claimant per ticket. A “claimant” can be an individual, a trust, a partnership, a corporation, or any other legal entity. The way in which you claim a prize cannot be changed after the ticket is validated and the prize is paid; therefore, careful consideration and professional advice, including but not limited to legal or financial advice, is recommended before the prize is claimed, especially for larger prizes or those prizes that are paid by installments. If you choose to claim the prize as a trust, partnership, or other legal entity, the legal documents that create the legal entity must be submitted for review to the Texas Lottery's Legal Services Division before claiming your prize. This is required to ensure the documents comply with the State Lottery Act and the Commission’s administrative rules. If you claim your prize as any entity other than an individual, a Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN) is required.
May I assign, or sell, my lottery prize installment payments?
The State Lottery Act allows a person to assign, in whole or in part, their right to receive lottery prize installment payments if the assignment is made to a person designated by an order of a district court of Travis County, except that prize payments due within the final two years may not be assigned. There are further requirements regarding voluntary assignments in the State Lottery Act and the Commission’s administrative rules, including review by the prizewinner’s independent legal counsel.
How does Quick Pick work?
By marking the appropriate box on your playslip, or by telling the clerk you want to use Quick Pick, the lottery terminal will automatically select numbers for you. The Quick Pick random number generator for our on-line games has no built-in memory. Once a set of numbers is picked in one play, the random number process starts fresh for the next play. The fact that a number is picked in one play has no influence on the chances of it getting picked in following plays. Each set of numbers generated by the Quick Pick feature is unrelated to any other Quick Pick selection. This means that one or more numbers, or even the same set of numbers, can be chosen by the Quick Pick option on more than one play. If the random number generator was restricted to producing each set of numbers only once, the system would not be completely random.
How is the jackpot invested to pay 30 annual payments?
It's important to understand what happens when a Lotto Texas jackpot is won. If the jackpot winner has chosen 30 Annual Payments, Texas Lottery officials provide the Texas Treasury Operations Division of the State Comptroller's Office with the jackpot amount. The Division submits a request for bids from previously approved investment firms. The contract is awarded to the investment firm that will provide the jackpot amount, paid over 30 years, at the lowest cost to the State. The Texas Lottery uses a portion of the sales for that drawing - plus any money rolled over, if there is any, from previous drawings - to buy the 30-year investment. According to the State Lottery Act, the funds must be invested in such a way as to ensure the payment of the prize. All interest earned on the investment is a part of the prize.
A similar process is followed if the jackpot winner has chosen Cash Value Option. Texas Lottery officials still provide the 30-year jackpot amount to the Treasury Operations Division, which still calls for competitive bids from previously approved investment firms. However, the investment is not actually purchased. Instead, the winner receives one lump-sum payment equal to the amount of money that would have been required to purchase the 30-year investment. This is called the "net present value" of the jackpot. The lump sum payout for a given estimated jackpot varies due to changing interest rates.
If you wish to obtain additional information about the investment process, you may contact an Investment Officer of the Texas Treasury Operations Division of the Comptroller's Office at (512) 463-4000.
Why don't my local TV stations carry the drawings live anymore?
All Texas Lottery drawings are broadcast live by satellite to television stations across the state free of charge. Because we do not have contracts with the various stations, the use of this resource is solely at the media's discretion. You may wish to contact your local television stations to encourage them to broadcast our drawings on a regular basis.
How can I become a Texas Lottery retailer?
You may contact the Texas Lottery at 1-800-375-6886 during normal business hours (M-F 7:00 a.m.-5:30 p.m., Central Time) and select the Licensing option from the recorded menu. A Licensing Representative will be happy to provide you with information on the basic requirements for becoming a Texas Lottery retailer. A Licensing Representative would also be glad to mail you an Application For A Lottery Sales Agent's License. The application will contain information on how having Texas Lottery tickets available in your retail location may benefit your business.
Certain eligibility requirements must be met.
We want to hold a lottery but don't know if it's legal. Can you give us some advice?
Certain raffles are permitted under the Charitable Raffle Enabling Act. The Texas Lottery Commission does not enforce this act or regulate charitable raffles. For more information about charitable raffles, see the information on raffles at the Attorney General's web site.
How do I obtain a copy of my Texas Lottery ticket sales license renewal?
Your Texas Lottery sales license renewal application is mailed to your business address 90 days prior to your license expiration date. If you did not receive your license renewal application or you cannot locate your license renewal application, please contact the Texas Lottery Retailer Services Department at 1-800-375-6886 to request a replacement copy. Your license renewal application can be sent to you by regular USPS mail, fax or by e-mail. Also, consider registering at our Retailer Services Center where you can now renew your license(s) online.
What do the terminal tones mean when a ticket is scanned?
Four (4) distinct tones play on lottery terminals to let players know the status of their winning and non-winning tickets. You may listen to samples of each unique tone on the Texas Lottery Web site. Each time a ticket is scanned for inquiry or validation a distinct tone will identify one of the following results:
1) Prize winning tickets under $600 and free tickets.
2) Prize winning tickets of $600 and higher and non-cash prizes. These prizes can only be paid at a Texas Lottery claim center.
3) Non-winning tickets.
4) Retailer cannot validate (variety of reasons such as inactive pack, expired ticket, previously paid, etc.)
Can't find your answer here? Contact us at:
- Texas Lottery questions: 1-800-37LOTTO (1-800-375-6886)
- Charitable Bingo questions: 1-800-BINGO-77 (1-800-246-4677)
You can also email us your questions at firstname.lastname@example.org