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Star-Telegram - Should the state keep, kill or expand the Texas lottery?

Lotteries has been used since the beginning of civilization to raise needed money for various public projects.  The first recorded signs of a lottery are keno slips from the Chinese Han Dynasty between 205 and 187 BC to finance the Great Wall of China.  It has been recorded that more than 200 lotteries were sanctioned between 1744 and 1776, and played a major role in financing roads, libraries, churches, colleges, canals, bridges, etc.  Today, in the Lottery’s 21-year history 2013 ticket sales topped $4.376billion, with $1.214 billion to the state of Texas, the Lottery’s single largest transfer of revenue to the state, including a contribution of $1.149 billion to the Foundation School Fund.  Sales of the Veterans Cash scratch-off game resulted in $6.2 million for the Fund for Veterans’ Assistance, which is administered by the Texas Veterans Commission.  2013 was the 10th consecutive year that the Texas Lottery generated more than $1 billion in contributions to the state of Texas.  The Texas Lottery’s careful spending kept administrative expenses to an all-time record low of 4.4 percent of fiscal year 2013 sales.  For the state’s more than 17,000 Texas Lottery retailers that collect a five percent commission on every lottery sale, those commissions amounted to a record $218.9 million in 2013.  On top of the record-setting sales, prizes, commissions and revenue increases, other highlights for fiscal year 2013 include:

  • In January, the Texas Lottery surpassed $15 billion in transfers to the Foundation School Fund.

  • Texas saw its first ever Powerball jackpot prize winner and its 10th Mega Millions jackpot prize winner.

  • The world-record $590.5 million Powerball jackpot for the May 18 drawing and other large Powerball jackpots.

     

    As Texas Comptroller, it is not within the authority of this office to enact or abolish the Texas Lottery this is a matter for the People to decide, but I can justly and fairly report the fiscal facts.


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