As It Appeared in The San Angelo Standard Times ... Texans Said NO & We Meant It ...

Lotto Texas
Not Doing So Well!

We told 'em - we want games with reasonable odds
and decent payouts ... but they wouldn't listen.
Someday the TLC will listen.

Posted: Wednesday, Feb 4, 2004

Published in the

Lottery estimates exaggerated again
February 4, 2004


Early last year, Texas Lottery Commission officials pressed the lottery staff and lottery operator, GTECH, to find a way to increase lotto profits. Subsequently, the commission authorized the existing game where players pick five numbers from a field of 44 numbers and a bonus ball from a field of 44 numbers.

The lottery staff assured the commission that the game would generate millions in new revenue by minimizing the chances of a player coming up with the winning numbers. A GTECH official predicted the game would ''roll'' 20 or more times, creating a jackpot so large that every person in the state would overlook the 1 in 47.7 million odds and buy batches of tickets.

GTECH was correct on two points. The lotto rolled 24 consecutive draws and the jackpot rose from $4 million to $70 million. Approximately 8.5 million tickets were sold Saturday, including one winning ticket bought in Houston.

However, the prediction that the game would produce huge profits was wrong. In fact, the lottery is losing money.

According to unofficial lotto sales data published at the Web site, Texans have spent about $344 million for lotto tickets since the current lotto game was instituted in May, which is far short of rosy predictions. In fact, when compared to the former lotto game where players picked six of 54 numbers, the lottery has lost about $63 million over the past 78 drawings.

Once again, lottery players have demonstrated that they are not as stupid as lottery officials apparently think they are.

As an aside, the San Angelo school board should have local political figures seek some of the lotto profits to help build new schools.

The first school could be named Texas Lottery Elementary No. 1. The inscription on the cornerstone should read: ''Paid for by the sale of billions of worthless lottery tickets bought with recycled Social Security, welfare and other public assistance funds; savings from piggy banks and cookie jars; family funds set aside for food, medical, education and other expenses, and other funds.''

The school motto would be: ''False Hope''

The school mascot would be a golden goose named ''Laughing all the way to the bank'' in memory of the numerous lottery officials, retailers and others who profit from the sale of worthless lottery products and games designed to minimize the chances of players getting a fair return on their investments.

Texans deserve better, but that's not likely to happen any time soon because the people who have the power to change the status quo are apparently standing on the side looking the other way with their hands in their pockets and whistling Dixie.

Robert Becknell
San Angelo



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