July 11, 2024 – A legislative commission in Texas holds the state lottery accountable for its failure to close a loophole that lets a syndicate based in New Jersey win a $95 million jackpot.

The Texas Lottery Commission (TLC) came under fire from the Sunset Advisory Committee (SAC) for permitting "courier companies" to purchase 25.8 million tickets, which ensured the winning of the jackpot and the majority of other prizes, for a syndicate based in New Jersey called Rook TX. The SAC branded the TLC as "stagnant" and "passive" for failing to close this loophole, which made it less likely for regular Texans to win the entire jackpot in that draw.

Prone to Exploitation

With 25.8 million possible combinations, the Texas Lottery draw became theoretically exploitable on April 22, 2023. The prize pool reached $95 million following 93 rollovers. After taxes, a syndicate that invested $25.8 million in tickets would make $57.8 million.

They took home an additional $2.5 million in rewards, including 289 second prizes and smaller payouts. Despite the Lottery's typical sale of only 2 million tickets, lottery couriers enabled the syndicate to purchase all combinations.

Lottery courier services provide wins to clients and sell tickets online. Following the drawing, the winning ticket was identified and tracked down to Lottery Now in Colleyville. It was discovered that this was "Hooked on Montana," a fishing excursion company with a lottery sales license.

While only New York and New Jersey have legalized and licensed courier businesses, several other jurisdictions accept them, including Texas, which the SAC opposes. Owner Richard Wheeler sold over 11 million tickets to Rook TX.

About the Texas Lottery

The Texas Lottery Commission runs the Texas Lottery, which was founded in 1991 and is the state's official lottery. It provides funding for Texas's veteran's affairs and education initiatives. Along with scratch-off tickets, the lottery offers a variety of draw games, such as Powerball, Mega Millions, Lotto Texas, Texas Two Step, and Cash Five.

It emphasizes responsible gambling, and to obtain a ticket, a player must be 18 years of age or older. Their official app or website has information on games, drawing times, and winning numbers. Please be aware that Texas lottery tickets may only be obtained from authorized shops and cannot be purchased online. Check the Texas Lottery website for the most recent information on claim center hours and closings.