From the Office of State Senator Glenn Hegar, District 18

For Immediate Release
February 24, 2009
Contact: Lisa Craven
(512) 463-0118

State Senator Glenn Hegar files legislation to force Texas Lottery Commission to Play by the Rules
Says promised jackpots should be paid out as advertised

(AUSTIN, TEXAS) — Today, Texas State Senator Glenn Hegar (R, Katy) announced that he filed legislation, Senate Bill 1108, to force the Texas Lottery Commission to play by the rules, honor their word, and to practice truth in advertising. Hegar’s legislation would prevent Texas Lottery officials from ending scratch–off lottery games before their scheduled closing date, a practice that currently is being used by lottery officials for slow selling scratch-off games.

Hegar, said that The Texas Lottery Commission is set to cut several poorly performing scratch-off games, even though more than $25 million in promised top jackpot prizes have yet to be awarded or claimed by winners, something he said is simply unacceptable.

Hegar, an opponent of state sanctioned gambling, said currently the Lottery Commission has no set criteria for closing games. Since early 2007, the commission has allowed itself to close scratch-off games for any one of three reasons: its sales were sluggish, its top prizes had been claimed, or 85 percent of its total prizes had been claimed. Earlier this month, the commission authorized game closings for reasons that don’t fall into the previous three categories.

“I am not a fan of the lottery and think it is an improper source of revenue for the State of Texas,” Hegar said. “Nevertheless, if we are going to have a lottery in Texas, we need to ensure that it is operated properly and that those who play the game at least have a chance to win the jackpots being advertised.” Hegar added.

Senator Hegar said that he likens the commission’s current practice of ending a game early with a past lottery practice of continuing to sell scratch-off tickets even though the top prizes has already awarded—a practice that has subsequently been stopped.

“No matter what their rationale, the Texas Lottery cannot engage in deceptive advertising,” Hegar said. “Texans deserve better.” He said that his legislation will require the Lottery Commission to adopt a clear set of rules that will prevent a lottery scratch-off game from being closed early prior to its top jackpots haven been awarded.

“The Texas Lottery prints the warning to ‘play responsibly’ on every scratch-off ticket they sell,” said Hegar. “The lottery commission also has an obligation to ensure that they are being responsible in the administration of its games,” Hegar concluded.