Nobody in Texas won last night's gigantic MegaMillions Lottery jackpot, but the director of the Texas Lottery tells 1200 WOAI news that the state was a winner anyway.
"In Texas, all of the proceeds of the lottery go toward public education, the Foundation School Fund," says Gary Grief, the Executive Director of the Texas Lottery.
And plenty of money was being put down in Texas by people excited about snapping up a prize that turned out to be in excess of $645 million, the second largest lottery jackpot in American history.
"Texas usually will sell about $600,000 worth of Mega Millions tickets," Grief said. "By the time this is over, we will have sold more than $20 million worth of MegaMillions tickets.
He says shortly before last night's drawing, Texans were buying $1.1 million worth of tickets per hour.
Grief says huge jackpots like last night's MegaMillions bring out people who are exciting about playing the lottery. He says a buzz like the one created by last night's MegaMillions gets people talking about lotteries again, and that's a good thing.
MegaMillions recently made major changes to the structure of the game, specifically to create super jackpots like the Tuesday night prize. It turns out two winning tickets were sold last night, one in California, and the other in Georgia.
But Grief says Texas was a winner too. So far it's not known if any smaller MegaMillions prizes will be claimed by Texans, but he says all of that action is good for the lottery, and good for the state.
"About 26 cents out of every dollar spent on the lottery in Texas goes directly toward public education," he said.