Texas Bill May Allow Lottery Winners to Remain Anonymous

Texas’s House of Representative’s has just approved a measure that will allow lottery winners who receive $1 Million or more to remain anonymous.

House Bill 59, presented by state Rep. Ryan Guillen, proposes that winners who receive $1 Million or more may remain anonymous except for child support and tax obligations.  The bill still needs final approval from the senate before becoming law.

Currently, the Texas Public Information Act requires public release of the names, city of residence, and prize amounts of all lottery winners.

“Due to the media storm surrounding large winnings, personally identifiable information about winners is spread across the state and sometimes the nation,” Guillen stated. This bill will ensure that winners are allowed peace, privacy and safety.

Guillen adds that often winners of large sums become the focus of unwanted attention and targets for burglary, theft, and demands for monetary help from friends and family.

Critics of the bill say that anonymity will hurt the public’s perception of the lottery’s integrity and could negatively impact lottery sales.

Six states—Delaware, Kansas, Maryland, North Dakota, Ohio and South Carolina—allow lottery winners to remain anonymous. Other states, including Texas, allow winners to collect their prize through a trustee, such as a lawyer, which still affords the prize winner some anonymity.

Check back for updates as the story progresses!

Jackpot winner

A $13 Million Lottery Ticket Remains Unclaimed in Texas

A ticket matching all 6 numbers for the Texas Lotto was sold on June 18th in a Kroger Supermarket at Arlington, Texas.

The winning numbers were 2, 19, 25, 28, 30 and 51.

The winner has 6 months to claim his or her prize and can do so without publicly coming forward to claim the jackpot. He or she may also request a lump sum payment totaling over $9.8 million!

The Kroger where the ticket was purchased will receive a $132,214.29 bonus.

The Texas Lottery Commission recommend that the winner sign his or her ticket in ink, store it in a safe, and consult with tax attorney before claiming their payment.  Furthermore, they recommend not quitting your job right away as you don’t know how long it will take to claim your prize.

We hope the winner claims his or her prize soon and wish them the best of luck moving forward!

TX Lottery cashes in on latest scratch-off game trends

If you live in a state with a professional NFL football team, you’ll likely soon be able to play a scratch-off instant cash game featuring your local NFL franchise.

The Washington Lottery recently introduced the $5 “WE ARE 12” Seahawks scratch ticket, which offers four top prizes of $50,000, and five second-chance drawing opportunities for incredible prizes such as a Legendary Seahawks Game Day Weekend, game day tickets and a pair of 2016 season tickets.

Also this year the Texas Lottery launched a Dallas Cowboys scratch-off game as well as a Houston Texans instant win game. The Cowboys scratch off has been so popular, TX Lottery officials held a press conference today to announce the game has generated $52 million for Texas public schools in just a few months of its availability. That’s quite a load of cash! No word on how the Houston scratch-off game is performing, but odds are it’s on the fast track to success too.

Since most states have similarly themed scratch-off games – the same small group of companies manufacture and consult the state lotteries – you can count on many more states cashing in on the NFL instant win game successes.

After all, if you can give $52 million to local schools, why wouldn’t you participate?

Perhaps the Illinois Lottery will introduce the “Paper bag over your head Chicago Bears game.”

If you like to play lottery scratch-off games, you’ll love playing FreeLotto. It’s free (hence the name) and it’s fun. And you can win up to $11 million today. It’s a better way to play #betterwaytoplay.

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How to Win Texas Lottery Scratch-Off Games

5 strategies for winning TX Lottery’s popular instant-win games

The Texas lottery instant games have been some of the most popular scratch-off games in the U.S. since their debut in May 29, 1992.

The instant ticket games change frequently and cost anywhere from $1 to $50. Texas is the only state to offer a $50 scratch-off game. As of July, 2015, the TX Lottery offers 64 instant games to play.

However, the Texas Lottery has been criticized for continuing to sell tickets to games where the top prizes have already been won – tickets remain on sale until 90% are sold. And just last year, the Texas Lottery Commission was charged with misleading its players after dozens of scratch-off game players who thought they had won were told they were losers.

But just like with any scratch-off game, it pays to play smart. If you really want to win, always check the website first to see which games have a number of unclaimed top prizes and follow our strategies in this story to increase your odds.

The Texas Lottery offers the typical games of pure chance, like the Lotto Texas, Texas Two Step, All or Nothing, Pick 3, Daily 4, Cash 5, and the multi-state Powerball and Mega Millions.

The only way to really increase your odds of winning these lottery jackpots is to buy more tickets. The more lottery tickets you have, the better your chances of winning.

The Texas Lottery scratch-off games are different. None of these games are truly games of chance.

To be clear: The Texas Lottery drawings are a game of chance because the numbers are drawn at random. The Texas Lottery Scratch-Off Games are not like the lottery drawings because a lottery official must decide the number of total tickets to print, the number and amounts of winning tickets, and where the winning tickets are sold across the state. The purpose of each decision is to make the game more appealing and keep players coming back.

Even how winning tickets are dispersed in a given roll is often not random to make sure there’s not a long list of losers.

And the Instant Game tickets themselves are carefully crafted, and not random.

“Near winners” are produced, where a ticket will have nearly all of the matching numbers or symbols needed to win, to entice players to keep playing.

So, yes, the Texas Lottery Instant Games have a method to their madness. The challenge is to figure it out.

January-coverA story in Wired Magazine explains how a geological statistician living in Toronto, Mohan Srivastava, discovered a pattern to how the tickets were printed.

“The tickets are clearly mass-produced, which means there must be some computer program that lays down the numbers,” Mr. Srivastava is quoted in Wired. “Of course, it would be really nice if the computer could just spit out random digits. But that’s not possible, since the lottery corporation needs to control the number of winning tickets [otherwise it could go bust]. The game can’t be truly random. Instead, it has to generate the illusion of randomness while actually being carefully determined.”

Mr. Srivastava’s discovery will no longer work on most (probably all) instant game tickets. However, the concept of “illusion of randomness” remains relevant.

Instant lottery scratch-off games best strategies

Here are 5 strategies to increase your odds of winning the Texas Lottery Instant Games:

1. Buy all your instant game tickets from the same roll at the same time.
lottery-tickets-rollYou can assume there are at least a few winners in every roll of tickets. Every time you get a losing ticket, you reduce your chances of losing by one ticket.

Do not buy different games. If you buy a new ticket from a different roll, the pool of losing tickets is much larger and your chances of getting a winning ticket goes down.

2. Don’t play everyday. Rather buy in bulk.
Building on tip #1, the odds are better if instead of buying one ticket every day for a week, you spend the same amount and buy 7 tickets at one time. Better yet, purchase your monthly allotment of scratch offs during on visit. Buying 30 tickets at once is much better than buying one a day.

3. Let others buy the losing tickets.
If you’re able to and have the time, hang around and watch others play. If you see a prolonged losing streak from a specific roll, your chances of getting a winning ticket increase because scratch-off tickets are sold with a guaranteed number of winners and losers in each pack.

You could also make friends with the cashier who could keep track for you.

4. Have the retailer’s computer check your losing tickets.
This isn’t about improving your odds necessarily, except that after scratching off 10, 15, or 20 tickets, it’s easy to miss matching symbols or numbers.

5. Strategically plan your play using math and a spreadsheet

Most scratch-off games publish on their websites the odds for each instant cash game. Many will often post prizes that have already been won for each game.

If you do nothing else, at least be sure to check the appropriate website to see which games still have top prizes available.

freelotto-spreadsheetNow to really improve your odds, let’s do a little math (there’s a spreadsheet at the end to make it easy).

We start with a simple concept: When tickets are sold and prizes won, the odds of winning change.

For example, if a game has sold many tickets, all or nearly all the top prizes could have already been won, so the odds of you winning that $1 million went from very small to virtually zero to perhaps zero if all the top prizes have been claimed.

However, sometimes the odds swing in your favor.

Again, simplifying the math for the example, let’s say 50% of the tickets have been sold but only 25% of the prizes have been claimed. Naturally, your odds of winning have gone up, or swung in your favor, by 50%. This would be a game you should play.

In reality, the odds never swing this much. In fact, most of the time, the odds vary only slightly. But a slight move in your direction can help and a few times, you’ll find significant swings that can make a worthwhile difference.

We’ve created a spreadsheet you can use to do the math for you. All you need to do is check the game’s website and fill in the numbers.

Here’s how the spreadsheet works for a single game:

We used the Texas Lottery Money, Money Millionaire $20 game as an example.

You can find the numbers for the game here: http://www.txlottery.org/export/sites/lottery/Games/Scratch_Offs/details.html_252729490.html

In column A, we filled in the available prizes.

In column B, we filled in the odds, which are usually stated as “1 in X.” In the Money, Money Millionaire scratch-off game, only 2 odds are provided, which are printed on the back of the ticket. The overall odds are 1 in 2.9, but this includes break-even tickets sold and the specific odds for break-even tickets are not given. The odds for the top prize of $1 million is 1 in 1.2 million, so we can fill in the numbers we have and put 1,200,000 at the top in column B.

In column C, we filled in total available prizes. This is detailed on the website.

Column D automatically calculates the estimated number of tickets sold. The formula is:

Odds X Available Prizes = Printed Tickets

However, in this case, the Texas Lottery website tells us how many tickets have been printing with the kind of funny statement: “There are approximately 5,925,875 tickets in Money Money Millionaire.” We filled in that number in column C.

Column E automatically calculates your chances of winning. Your chances of winning $1 million is .00008%. Your chances of winning $50 is 12%. And yes, you’re reading it correctly that your chance of winning $25 is less at 4%, but the chance to win $20 goes back up to 16%. Look at the number of available prizes and you’ll see that there are a lot more $50 prizes available.

In column F, we filled in the claimed prizes as published on the website.

Column G automatically calculates the number of remaining prizes.

Column H is an important column. It estimates how many tickets have been sold. This is a number not provided by the website, but it’s critical in determining how the odds have changed.
To generate a reasonable estimate, the spreadsheet uses the estimated tickets sold of the lowest prize amount because this gives us the largest sample size and will be more accurate than the numbers with fewer prizes.

Column I automatically takes the estimated tickets sold and subtracts from total tickets printed to get the estimated remaining tickets.

Column J automatically adjusts the odds based on the new numbers.

Column K automatically adjusts your chances of winning based on the new numbers.

Column L automatically determines how much your chances of winning have changed. Sometimes in your favor, represented by a green bold number, and sometimes against you, represented by a red number.

In our example, you can see that the odds for most of the higher prize amounts have moved slightly in our favor, especially for the $5,000, $1,000, and $500 prizes. But the smaller prizes have swung in the opposite direction. The odds of winning $50 has decreased 0.6%. And our overall chances have gone down slightly.

What does all this mean?

If you’re looking to minimize your risk, don’t play this game given the odds for the smaller, more of the sure-win prizes are not in your favor.

However, if you’re looking to win greater jackpots, then this would be a good game to play because most of these odds are moving in your favor.

But don’t stop with just this game. Use this spreadsheet to compare games. Is the Texas Lottery Money Money Millionaire game better or worse than the 50X the Cash game? Currently, the Money Money Millionaire game is much better. In fact, don’t play 50X the Cash because most of the top prizes have been claimed.

Bottom line, don’t just walk into a store and purchase a few random tickets, unless you really don’t care and just want to have fun. But if you want to improve your odds, these strategies do help.

Download instant lottery scratch-off games spreadsheet


Click to view the spreadsheet: https://goo.gl/MbR9TO

To download the spreadsheet to your computer, click the menu File, then Download As.

Note, this is a Google Doc so you won’t risk getting viruses or other crap you get if you download strange files or those ending in .exe.

Let me know what you think below.

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State lottery sales plummet 30% in early 2015

Are you suffering from jackpot fatigue?

If you are, you’re not alone.

Ticket sales for Mega Millions and Powerball games were down 30% for the first quarter, 2015.

Imagine what that’s doing to state budgets!?!

States are responding to falling lottery ticket sales by pumping up the jackpot amounts in hopes of luring back the casual player who buys lotto tickets only when the prize becomes enormous.

An interesting catch is that when fewer people play, it becomes hard to reach the ginormous prizes, for example going from $100 million to $300 million

People once impressed with a $100 million payout shrug until it reaches $300 million. Then fewer people play, so it takes longer to get to staggering prizes.

What are people playing? FreeLotto. More and more gamers are flocking to FreeLotto – the world’s largest online lottery style sweepstakes – because they realize it’s free, easy to play, and the odds are similar to state lotteries.

Check it out for yourself. Play right now.

Texas Lottery loser wins a new home

Note to all lottery players: Always play the second-chance games – especially scratch-off games. Playing doubles your chances of winning at no cost.

Carlos Zavala of McKinney, Texas, is a perfect example.

Mr. Zavala didn’t win when he played the Texas Dream Home Giveaway $5 scratch-off game offered by the Texas Lottery. But he did complete the form on the back of his losing ticket and mailed it to the TX Lottery headquarters.

He was then chosen along with three other non-winners to participate in a special promotional second-chance drawing to win the grand prize.

All four contestants stepped up to a locked door and inserted a key.

Mr. Zavala’s key opened his door and he became the owner of a new home to be built by D.R. Horton – a promotional partner.

Texas Lottery’s Executive Director Gary Grief said Mr. Zavala will receive $500,000 plus $166,665 (paid to the IRS for federal withholding taxes) for a total prize of $666,665, which can be used to purchase a D.R. Horton home.

Mr. Zavala said he was thrilled and shocked that he had won, “I pulled the latch down and thought ‘Wow!’ This can’t be happening.”

When his wife was asked if her husband was done playing the lottery, she laughed, “Even after this big win, Carlos will still have that itch to keep playing scratch-off games.”

If you enjoy scratch-off games and playing state lotteries, you’ll love FreeLotto. The odds are similar to state-run lotteries, except you can play for free.

Click the button below to play:

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'Life-Changing Event': Powerball Winners Told to 'Take Your Time'

Texas Lottery Powerball winner told to ‘Take Your Time’

While lottery officials in North Carolina and Texas said they’re thrilled that residents of their states beat 175 million-to-1 odds to share the fifth-biggest U.S. jackpot ever, they offered this advice Thursday: Keep the ticket safe, and take your time.

The Multi-State Lottery Association, which administers Powerball, said the third winning ticket was sold Wednesday in Puerto Rico. The winners have 180 days to come forward to claim their prizes, worth $127 million as a lump sum before taxes.

“Personally, I hope this winner takes that time to get their financial house in order,” said Gary Grief, executive director of the Texas Lottery Commission. He said the winner or winners — who bought the ticket in Princeton, near McKinney, and haven’t been identified — are already seeking legal and financial advice.

Alice Garland, executive director of the N.C. Education Lottery, said winners are dealing with “a life-changing event.” And while “we look forward to meeting the jackpot winner,” she said, “the most important thing for the winner to do today is sign the back of the ticket and secure it in a safe place.”

The winner or winners in North Carolina, who also weren’t identified, bought the winning ticket at a Scotchman convenience store in the town of Shallotte in Brunswick County, about 13 miles north of the South Carolina border.

Three winners to split $564.1 Powerball jackpot

Texas Lottery player 1 of 3 winners to split $564.1 Powerball jackpot

Chandra Siwakoti has had a brush with a very, very rich person.

Siwakoti owns the Appletree Food Mart in tiny Princeton, Texas, population 7,700. One of the three winning tickets that will split Wednesday night’s $564.1 million jackpot was sold at Siwakoti’s store, Texas lottery officials said Thursday.

“Are you serious? Which one? Powerball? Yesterday?!” Chandra Siwakoti told WFAA-TV in Dallas-Fort Worth when told of the news Thursday. “I cannot believe. It’s exciting!”

Winning jackpot tickets also were sold in North Carolina and Puerto Rico, lottery officials announced early Thursday.

Sue Dooley, senior drawing manager for the Multi-State Lottery Association, said the Puerto Rico ticket was the first Powerball jackpot winner ever sold outside the continental United States. Puerto Rico joined Powerball less than a year ago.

The winning numbers were: 11, 13, 25, 39, 54 and the Powerball number was 19.

The jackpot estimate, fattened by a drought that has seen no winner since Nov. 29, was raised to $500 million hours before the drawing and then to $564.1 following the drawing. It’s the third-largest Powerball prize ever.

If the winners choose to take the lump sum option, the three would split $381,138,450.16 before taxes.

Long lines formed at Powerball outlets across the nation Wednesday in the hours before the drawing. In Tampa, Ben Taran and Dave Baker decided to try their luck at the Carrollwood Market, where a $50 million ticket once was sold. The duo took up a collection at Carrollwood Country Club and arrived with a fistful of cash — $222, to be exact.

“They took out their wallets immediately,” Baker said of his co-workers. “They were in and they were more than happy to be a part of it.”

The two biggest Powerball jackpots: In May 2013, Gloria Mackenzie of Zephyrhills, Fla, won $590.5 million. And in November 2012, Matthew Good of Phoenix and Cindy and Mark Hill of Dearborn, Mo., split a $587.5 million prize.

Texas Man Wins $7.5 Million in Texas Lottery

scratchticketJesse Patino, 26, purchased a $50 scratch off ticket from a RaceTrac gas station just a few days ago. The $50 scratch ticket, “Millionaires Club,” is one of the most expensive scratch tickets offered by the Texas Lottery. When Patino scratched the lucky ticket and discovered he had won the top prize of $7.5 million, he was speechless.

Patino currently lives with his mom and a roommate in an apartment in Denton, Texas. He didn’t tell the press what he plans to do with the prize money but he can now afford to buy just about any house he wants.

The “Millionaires Club” scratch off game still has two grand prizes available to be won. The odds of winning the top prize is one in 1.2 million.

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