HOUSTON - Tonight's Powerball jackpot is a whopping $410 million, plus Friday's Mega Millions is $490 million after no one matched six numbers in last night's drawing.
But while lottery ticket sales have been down nationwide, Texas lottery sales are setting records. Texans are either feeling lucky, or trying to turn their luck around after a very difficult year.
The Texas Lottery Commission's Executive Director Gary Grief says Powerball and Mega Millions ticket sales were down nationwide last year, as stores closed and players had to stay home during the pandemic. Save as Draft
But he says things played out differently in Texas.
"While sales have been down nationwide, for Powerball and Mega Millions, we have been a star when it comes to revenue generation. Our sales, and I'm including the scratch ticket sales as well, have never been higher," said Grief.
Grief says in Texas, overall lottery ticket sales set a record $6.7 billion, up more than 7%, for the fiscal year ending August 31st.
"This is an opportunity for players here in Texas to daydream a little bit. To maybe take a break from all the stress and pandemic and things we're seeing on television, and really think about what they might do if they won $410 million in the Powerball drawing," said Grief.
With so many Texans facing economic hardship, gambling addiction counselors say there is concern some may spend money needed for rent or food on the lottery, hoping for a windfall.
We asked Menninger Clinic's Addiction Services Director Vaughan Gilmore for advice on playing the lottery sensibly.
"We know the probablity of winning the lottery is incredibly low, so listen to that voice of reason, listen to your family and friends," said Gilmore.
The odds of winning Mega Millions are one in 302,575,350.
"Playing the lottery can be harmless for many of us. But if you are making sacrifices, if it's taking up a lot of mental energy, if it's causing conflict in relationships, then we really start to be concerned," Gilmore explained.
But for most players, it's a chance to dream of better days.
"I'm going to share it with my fiance, my sister, my family, some of them (laughs)," said one woman after buying her Powerball ticket.