IssuesTaxes & SpendingTexas Lottery Reports Over $8.1 Billion in Sales in Fiscal Year 2021, Breaking All-Time Record

The Texas Lottery Commission contributes about a quarter of its revenue to education, but less than one percent to veterans’ causes.
September 7, 2021
In its most successful year since it began in 1992, the Texas Lottery cleared $8.107 billion in sales as Fiscal Year 2021 came to a close, according to the Texas Lottery Commission’s (TLC) unofficial weekly sales summary. The record-breaking haul was 21 percent more than the previous year.

The vast majority, $6.617 billion, came from scratch ticket sales. Draw game sales accounted for $1.49 billion. It is the 11th year in a row the TLC has exceeded the prior year’s sales.

“The Texas Lottery is proud to report it has achieved its top-selling year of all time, with $8.107 billion in total scratch ticket and draw game sales,” said Texas Lottery Executive Director Gary Grief in a statement to The Texan.

“This accomplishment would not have been possible without the great dedication, attention to detail and hard work of our employees, vendor partners and most especially, the 20,000-plus Texas Lottery retailers, nearly all of whom have been deemed ‘essential service’ locations throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Grief added that the sales would “translate into a record-breaking revenue contribution to our beneficiaries, Texas education and Texas veterans, for fiscal year 2021.”

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According to a breakdown of the lottery’s Fiscal Year 2020 audited reports, 66 percent of its proceeds were paid out in prizes, just under one quarter went to the Foundation School Fund, five percent was spent on compensating retailers, and three percent went to administrative costs.

Less than one percent of the lottery’s revenue was spent on Texas veterans, though the agency has reported giving $164 million to Texas veterans since 2009. The lottery has also disbursed $27.5 billion to the Foundation School Fund since 1997.

The state legislature almost shuttered the Texas Lottery in 2013, but ultimately chose to keep it for the extra income.

Opponents of the Texas Lottery view it as an unnecessary agency that makes much of its sales on individuals who are low-income or who lack a high school education. Supporters tout the additional revenue for education and veterans.

Pursuant to House Bill (HB) 2197 in the 83rd legislature, regular session, the TLC is slated to be reviewed by the Sunset Advisory Commission during the 2024-2025 cycle.

These earnings occured as Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick slammed the door on the expansion of legal gambling earlier this year and Speaker Dade Phelan (R-Beaumont) showed only fleeting interest.

The bulk of efforts to expand gambling in Texas were unsuccessful. However, in November, Texas voters will have the opportunity to authorize charitable raffles at rodeos hosted by the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association or the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association.

The TLC is expected to publish additional information with an official report in the coming weeks.

Correction: The breakdown of the lottery’s sales has been corrected.


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Hayden Sparks

Hayden Sparks is a senior reporter for The Texan and a lifelong resident of the Lone Star State. He has coached competitive speech and debate and has been involved in politics since a young age. One of Hayden's favorite quotes is by Sam Houston: "Texas has yet to learn submission to any oppression, come from what source it may."