Lottery officials are hoping to jingle all the way to the bank this holiday season, as Texans for the first time will be able to buy tickets in their state for the Mega Millions multi-state lottery drawing.
Tickets will be on sale Dec. 3. The first drawing in Texas is targeted for Dec. 5.
Jackpots start at $10 million and have averaged $42.3 million over the past year. But lottery officials in Texas and 10 other states that participate anticipate a much larger bounty.
The Texas Lottery Commission estimates a five-year-average of $121.6 million in net revenue from Mega Millions.
Last year, $888 million from all lottery sales in Texas was transferred to the Texas Foundation School Fund. Lottery officials estimate that Mega Millions will generate an additional $92 million for the fund by the end of this fiscal year, which ends Aug. 31.
"This has been a successful year for the Texas Lottery," said Reagan Greer, executive director of the commission. "We expect next year to be even more successful, as we generate more fun for our players and more revenue for the school children of Texas."
Texas will join Virginia, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio and Washington in Mega Millions drawings. Multistate lottery games like Mega Millions and Powerball are designed to generate jackpots into the hundreds of millions of dollars, creating a frenzy of ticket purchases across the country. Participating states get a cut of the tickets sold within their borders.
In Texas, the lottery commission is preparing to launch an advertising campaign aimed at getting Texans excited about Mega Millions. The commission plans 59 Mega Millions billboards around the state, beginning with metropolitan areas, Greer said. Television and radio spots targeting holiday shoppers also are in the works.
Mega Million drawings are Tuesdays and Fridays, and tickets will cost $1. Second prize is $175,000, and there are seven additional prize categories.
Texans will be able to multiply their prizes, not including the jackpot, by purchasing a "megaplier" number for a dollar. The megaplier could double, triple or quadruple winnings.
Texas statisticians estimate the Mega Million jackpot would reach $100 million four times a year. The jackpot could reach $400 million every two to three years.
The odds of winning are 1 in 43, with jackpot odds 1 in about 135 million.
The estimated jackpot for the next Mega Millions drawing on Friday is $28 million.