Texans will have a chance for a record jackpot of an estimated $100 million on Saturday after there were no winners last night in the Lotto Texas drawing.
Wednesday's jackpot totaled $87 million, topping the record $85 million set in 2001. The jackpot, which hasn't been hit since February, is now the highest jackpot in the country, even outpacing the multistate game Mega Millions, which has an estimated $85 million jackpot after no one won Tuesday's drawing.
But hold on to those letters of resignation -- the odds of winning are almost 1 in 47 million.
"This is the kind of Lotto jackpot that gets the attention of players not only in Texas, but also in our neighboring states and in Mexico," said Reagan Greer, executive director of the Lottery Commission.
By 9 p.m., tickets sales hit a rate of about 15,522 per minute. For last Saturday's drawing when the jackpot was at $81 million, sales peaked just after 8 p.m. at a rate of 13,000 per minute.
In Dallas, Shane Allison, 30, bought $10 in Lotto tickets just days after getting laid off.
"It would be a good time for me to win it," Allison said. "You would think I would be holding on to my money. But, hey, that's what a severance package is for."
Michael Westbrooks said he rarely buys lottery tickets, but the high jackpot and an office pool got him to the store.
"There's about 30 of us in my office and we're all buying one," Westbrooks said. "Then we'll split whatever we win."
Extravagant jackpots drive up ticket sales, making this week's numbers a relief to Texas lottery officials who feared sales would suffer after the state recently began participating in Mega Millions.
"Sales are much higher in Lotto Texas, there's a higher interest level and higher allegiance, loyalty to game," Greer said. "But both are performing well."
About 30 cents of every dollar in sales goes to the Foundation School Fund, used to finance the state's public schools.