HOUSTON - The Mega Millions jackpot is now $1.1 billion and the Texas Lottery expects to break lottery sales records this year.
Despite inflation, or perhaps because of it, the Texas Lottery expects to break last year's record $8.1 billion in sales.
"I bought one already. I’m going to buy another one, too," said Woody, a lottery player we met in Lucky Rudy's in Rosenberg.
"Today I’ll play some Pick Three's. But tomorrow, for sure, some Mega Millions," said another player named James.
Is 40-year-high inflation pumping up the dream of winning the Mega Millions jackpot?
"Absolutely. They’re scared, they're scared. Gas prices, they’re scared about everything," said Woody.
"It might be, but I don’t know if they have enough money left to buy with inflation and prices so high," said James.
"For just two dollars, they can buy their ticket, and they can daydream, between then and when the drawing occurs, what they might do with a billion dollars," said Gary Grief, Executive Director of the Texas Lottery Commission.
Grief says scratch-off ticket sales declined in Texas as gas prices started to climb this year.
"They needed to put a little bit bigger percentage of that into their gas tank, because of high prices, and put a little less into other things they might buy at the store, including our product, lottery tickets," said Grief.
However, he says Texas' new $100-a-ticket 20 Million Supreme scratch-off game, and the one billion dollar Mega Millions jackpot have overcome those odds.
"We typically sell $300,000 worth of Mega Millions tickets when the pots are low. Last night, $8.5 million in Mega Millions tickets," he said.
The Jackpocket app that lets players buy tickets digitally says sales are climbing along with inflation.
"The lottery is consistently a recession-proof kind of industry. We have seen new players playing a little less. But this Mega Millions has turned everything else around," said Pete Sullivan, Jackpocket CEO.
Many players hope to win some cash that could help them surpass the skyrocketing cost of living.
"Got plenty of grandchildren, help them. Help any other family members that need it," said player Carmen Garcia.
While most winners take the lump sum because they can earn more investing it, some financial analysts say with high inflation, taking the payouts over 30 years can offer more financial security.