Dawn Nettles is a woman with a mission. The 63-year-old from Garland, Texas, has spent the last 20 years of her life keeping tabs on the Texas Lottery. Nettles devotes 14 to 16 hours a day to her chosen role of lottery watchdog, but spying on the State Lottery Commission was not her original intention when she began producing The Lotto Report in 1993.
"I'm in this position purely by accident," Nettles said. "One thing led to another and another, and now I’m here."
The Lotto Report started off as biweekly publication that published the results of Texas Lottery draws. Then in 1999 Nettles created a website and began posting the results online, along with lottery-related news and articles. Much of her information came straight from the Texas Lottery Commission, who kept her regularly updated.
Nettles changed her focus in 2000 when the Lottery Commission altered the matrix of many of the Texas Lottery games and created larger jackpots. Nettles opposed the changes and said she believed that, between 1997 and 2000, the lottery had underpaid 13 winners by a total of $3 million. The commission investigated her claims and concluded it had followed the correct policy.
"After that, I began reporting every move they made and continue to this day," Nettles said.
Nettles now keeps a close eye on lottery legislation, sales, and payouts. In 2005 the commission's executive director resigned after an investigation initiated by Nettles showed the lottery was advertising jackpots that were too high for ticket sales to support.
Nettles still feels she has much work ahead of her and expects to keep on producing The Lotto Report for many years to come.
"I will retire from my work the day that the Texas Lottery or the Texas Legislature instructs the Texas Lottery to make good on cheated winners," she promised.