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Texas Lottery eliminates Lotto bonus ball

Texas LotteryTexas Lottery: Texas Lottery eliminates Lotto bonus ball

Updated Feb. 28, 2005, 8:02 am 

Everything old is new again at the Texas Lottery, where commissioners voted Monday to ditch the unpopular Lotto Texas bonus ball and return to the style abandoned three years ago due to sagging sales.

Starting in late April, players will choose six numbers between 1 and 54 rather than five numbers between 1 and 44 and one bonus ball from 1 to 44. That will return the odds of winning the jackpot to 1 in 25.8 million, down from 1 in 47.8 million with the bonus ball.

Already sluggish sales fell even more after the bonus ball was added, lottery staff said. So far this fiscal year, a higher percentage of ticket sales have gone to the twice-daily Pick 3 game than to Lotto Texas, which once was by far the state's highest-selling online game, commission chairman C. Thomas Clowe said.

"I think the handwriting's on the wall," Clowe said. "We've got to do what we can."

Clowe blamed several factors for the decline in sales, from the growing popularity of Internet gambling to the prevalence of casinos in nearby states. Players also are increasingly drawn to the huge jackpots offered by Mega Millions and Powerball, he said, and are less likely to play for smaller prizes.

In an effort to build big jackpots more quickly — and therefore sell more tickets — the commission will devote a higher percentage of sales to the top prize and pay less to winners matching three, four or five numbers than it did in the old game involving 54 numbers. For example, players matching three of six numbers will win $3 rather than $5.

Lottery watchdog Dawn Nettles opposed the changes adopted Monday, saying that style of play already failed to draw customers and would fail again. She said players aren't as concerned about high jackpots as Clowe maintained, but they won't play for pocket change.

"The people are going to boycott this game, and I'm going to see to it that they do," said Nettles, who also opposes the concept of guaranteed prizes, saying players should instead win a set percentage of sales.

The two-man commission discussed the issue for more than four hours, debating a variety of proposals, including the lottery's original form when players chose six numbers from 1 to 50. While that setup would return more money to players, the commissioners said that would happen at the expense of the Foundation School Fund, where revenues from lottery games go.

"We can't make everybody happy, but the thing I think the commissioners have to protect is that fiduciary responsibility to the state," Clowe said. "That's part of the integrity that we have signed on to discharge."


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12 comments. Last comment 12 years ago by CASH Only.
Page 1 of 1
United States
Member #7853
October 15, 2004
11350 Posts
Posted: February 28, 2006, 7:43 am - IP Logged

good to see them listening to their players.texas is moving things in the right direction.this is a good step in restoring some of their tarnished reputation as of late.....

    Todd's avatar - Cylon 2.gif
    Chief Bottle Washer
    New Jersey
    United States
    Member #1
    May 31, 2000
    24399 Posts
    Posted: February 28, 2006, 8:05 am - IP Logged

    That Dawn Nettles really sounds angry.  She said, "The people are going to boycott this game, and I'm going to see to it that they do."  Maybe she's just angry she didn't get the director's job when she had the chance.  I guess the interview didn't go too well.


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      mylollipop's avatar - Trek STLOGO6.png

      United States
      Member #24380
      October 21, 2005
      623 Posts
      Posted: February 28, 2006, 11:47 am - IP Logged

      good to see them listening to their players.texas is moving things in the right direction.this is a good step in restoring some of their tarnished reputation as of late.....

      Listen is right.  Somebody might eventually listen to me for a Super National Lottery for funding natural disaster relief, not education.  Any ideas, LOTTOMIKE, Todd, LP Members, anybody out there just surfing the web????

        United States
        Member #16612
        June 2, 2005
        3493 Posts
        Posted: February 28, 2006, 12:44 pm - IP Logged

        When exactly is Lotto Texas goes back to a 6 number system? I'm happy that they're ditching the bonus ball. MM sales are doing well, but sales should return for Texas with 6 numbers.

          LANTERN's avatar - kilroy 28_173_reasonably_small.jpg
          United States
          Member #4570
          May 4, 2004
          5180 Posts
          Posted: February 28, 2006, 12:53 pm - IP Logged

          Dawn Nettles is right, I won't play the new TxLotto game either, either 6/49 or 6/50 and good lower prizes or nothing.

          BibleOnline  ParishesOnline  ChristianRadioOnline   MassOnline   Mass

          "Ten measures of beauty descended to the world, nine were taken by Jerusalem."

            Bradly_60's avatar - disney37
            Atlantic Mine, Michigan
            United States
            Member #416
            June 23, 2002
            1614 Posts
            Posted: February 28, 2006, 2:11 pm - IP Logged

            Well I don't think there is much of a chance for any normal lottery game anymore in TX.  Even if they revert back to the 6 of 54 game or whatever it is I bet there won't be an increase in sales.  TX has Mega Millions and usually the in-state game suffers.  Changing the game back to the game that they had to replace a couple years ago isn't going to do much good.


              Northern California
              United States
              Member #19948
              August 9, 2005
              153 Posts
              Posted: February 28, 2006, 2:27 pm - IP Logged

              Let's try this again

               Dear LP'ers

              To Todds point - if you read Ms. Nettles writings, its clear she expects to run the Texas Lottery through the use of the "you have to respect player input and I (self appointedly) respesent the players - therefore you have to do whatever I tell you to do". I've seen on her web site where she actually suggests people contact the local DA in Austin to try to get him to force the lotteyr to do whatever her disciples ask for (or to open a criminal investigation if they don't). The Commission is well within their rights to come to a different conclusion - espcecially given the quality of the "analysis" she uses to justify her opinions.


              As far as MyLollipops point - I personally have nothing against helping people who've suffered from a disaster but there are people who raise some valid points on the issue of building in flood plains/hurricane alleys etc. and expecting government to continually bail out those who do so.  Remember - lotteries are run by the states - the Feds have no right (except perhaps on Federal land) to run a lottery within the States. John Stossell of ABC news wrote a great piece about a property he owned in Florida, on the beach. The first time a storm washed it away, he let the government help out.  The second time, he paid for the repairs himself and the third time he sold the land and moved. Players and lotteries have a tough enough time as it is, recognizing and identifying the benefits from things as they are - I simply don't know how you could make that big of a change and get all (or any number of them) the states to buy in. The current beneficiaries would fight any change tooth and nail.


                bobby623's avatar - abstract
                San Angelo, Texas
                United States
                Member #1097
                January 31, 2003
                1548 Posts
                Posted: March 1, 2006, 12:35 pm - IP Logged


                Those of us who live in Texas and spend $$$ for lottery products appreciate what Dawn Nettles is trying to accomplish. Her main goals are to ensure that Texas has a main lotto game that will be successful for the state and players, and that players actually receive 50 percent of sales.

                Whether or not players will spend much to win secondary prizes less than $100 remains to be seen. A prize of $90 for getting 5 of 6 numbers is an insult.

                Personally, I don't plan on spending much on Lotto. I prefer Cash 5 where I know I'll win more than $100 or more if I have 4/5. The jackpot rarely exceeds $30,000, but I know that when I buy tickets.

                MegaMillions is my jackpot game.

                While it is difficult to know what the future holds, I think it's clear that states that have tried to make $$$ with a lotto game similiar to the proposed Texas Lotto have failed.

                The Texas lottery staff are very good at coming with losing games or messing with successful games in ways that they quickly become losers. No reason to hope that it will be any different this time around.

                Nettles has are a large following. If she urges them to not play Texas Lotto, it will have a significant impact.

                One final remark, if anyone really wants to know what is going on at the Texas lottery, they need to come to Austin and sit in on the meetings. You will never see so many dumb asses in one room. If that's not an option, just visit the Texas lottery website and read the minutes of prior meetings under the Legal tab.

                Have a good day!



                  Northern California
                  United States
                  Member #19948
                  August 9, 2005
                  153 Posts
                  Posted: March 1, 2006, 8:02 pm - IP Logged

                  Dear bobby623:


                  I have attended MANY meetings in Texas and while they are certainly not without faults/flaws they are one of the best teams (the staff) and one of the most successful in terms of sales and dollars contributed per capita to the state, in the entire U.S.  Conversely, I was also present at a retailer forum where Ms. Nettles asked me why, if the odds on Pick 3 (Straight/Exact Order) are 1:1000 (with a suitable smug smirk like "I gotcha"), why the lottery doesn't pay $1,000 when you win.  It was poignant, and even somewhat embarassing for me, to have to explain to her (in front of Dallas area retailers and senior lottery staff - including the then Director) that prize levels generally reflect odds times prize payout. Thus, with odds of 1:1000 and a 50% prize payout, you get a prize of $500 on Pick 3 Straight.  I kept waiting for her to say "never mind" like the lady on Saturday Night Live. If the Lottery operated as she suggested, there would be no money to pay retailers or operate the games, let alone profits for the State. 

                  I know you appreciate her willingness to take on those bad people in Austin - and there are and have been some - but her level of actual expertise is quite frankly what is best described as a little knowledge being a dangerous thing.  Her complaints are just as valid as you have been led to believe and I note that for all of her being "the voice of the players" she got 900 and someodd inputs for her latest survey - which is not a statistically valid (I'm not saying everyone's opinion doesn't have some intrinsic value) sample of the playing population which numbers in the millions. Like she says on her web site - its personal to her.  I wonder how much of her passion comes from anger at not having her own way.


                  The Lottery did $3.75 billion last year and will beat it this year. The problems with lotto games in Texas are hardly unique (but the scope is more pronounced - her attacks have had an effect) and I for one would love, since she cares so much about the lottery, to see her try a more constructive approach.


                  Best Regards



                    justxploring's avatar - villiarna
                    Wandering Aimlessly
                    United States
                    Member #25360
                    November 5, 2005
                    4461 Posts
                    Posted: March 1, 2006, 8:46 pm - IP Logged

                    "John Stossell of ABC news wrote a great piece about a property he owned in Florida, on the beach. The first time a storm washed it away, he let the government help out.  The second time, he paid for the repairs himself and the third time he sold the land and moved. "

                    Although I agree with you that I never would want a lottery run by our Federal Government, I just want to comment that not everyone can afford to fix up a home and move. Mr. Stossell obviously owned a very valuable piece of land, since waterfront property is hard to find and in high demand, regardless of recent disasters. You can't even touch a nice home in Florida on the beach for less than a few million. I do agree that people of means who "choose" to live in such areas, should expect to pay their fair share.  However, after Hurricane Charley hit in 2004, there were scores of families sleeping on the grass! As hard as it is to imagine, they had nothing..not even a tent to sleep in.  The #1 thing on their minds was getting a clean glass of water, not contacting a real estate agent. When local residents joined to help, we found many children wet, hungry and covered in insect bites. I'm not talking about lazy people who are living off of our taxes, but hardworking laborers. So IMHO Mr. Stossell does not represent the average disaster victim.

                      Sparta, NJ
                      United States
                      Member #18331
                      July 9, 2005
                      1977 Posts
                      Posted: March 2, 2006, 8:36 am - IP Logged

                      I agree with justexploring - to a point.  Those who own property in Florida bought it willingly.  They either didn't research the consequences of their decision, or chose to ignore the obvious.  Three generations later doesn't allow the "its not my fault" rationale. Buy property in forest, expect fire.  Buy property on top of mud hill, expect landslide.  Buy property in Nework, expect to get shot.  Buy property near water, expect flood.  Buy property in Hurricane Alley, expect hurricanes.  If you are one of the rich, the penalty is NEVER as severe! Being screwed is the penalty of not being rich.  Contrary to gobbilty-goop, being rich will always outweigh not being rich. There is a reason why the rich are never a member of the homeless!  I remember reading, 40 years ago, that Florida was mostly swamp, remade to look like heaven.  Forty years later, the people who bought into heaven found out there is no such thing.



                      |||::> *'`*:-.,_,.-:*''*:--->>> Chewie  <<<---.*''*:-.,_,.-:*''* <:::|||

                      I only trust myself - and that's a questionable choice

                        United States
                        Member #379
                        June 5, 2002
                        11296 Posts
                        Posted: March 2, 2006, 9:50 am - IP Logged

                        The bonus ball in NY Lotto is almost useless. It's for second prize only. Even with the cash option, NY Lotto is _not_ worth playing.