Are you a winner?
When you play the lottery today, including multi-state games like Mega Millions, you’re hoping that the biggest decision you will have to make tomorrow is between the lump sum or cash option payout for your lottery winnings. You simply plan to win money, and unlike a sweepstakes entry dropped in the mail, you’ll likely know the outcome as soon as tonight! By this time next week, you hope to drive up to the state HQ and collect your lottery winnings. Today, you don’t care about the other games like scratch cards, scratch tickets, or Powerball, because all of your cosmic energy is focused on winning the Mega Millions jackpot.
Before you check the number in tonight's drawing, and find out if you will become wealthy and rich, it's OK to continue to think: IF I WON THE LOTTERY... But while you wait, here’s some interesting information about the game Mega Millions and the lottery winnings and revenues.
ABOUT MEGA MILLIONS
Mega Millions can be played in forty-one (41) states as well as the District of Columbia and the US Virgin Islands. In May of 2002, Mega Millions, the country's newest multi-state jackpot, was available in MA, NY, IL, MD, NJ, VA, GA, MI, and OH. After WA, TX, and CA joined (between 2002 and 2005), the amount of players grew enormously. Twenty-three more state lotteries joined in January 2010.
The Mega Millions jackpot for each game starts at $12 million, but you can win between $2 and $250,000 if you match at least the mega ball. Winning the top prize requires matching all five numbers (from 1 to 56), and the mega ball (from 1 to 46). According to Mega Millions, the overall chances of winning a prize is 1 in 40. The biggest jackpot to date, $390 million, was split by two winners from Georgia and New Jersey in 2007.
BENEFITS TO THE STATES
The money spent nationwide purchasing Mega Millions tickets is generally split in three parts. Approximately fifty percent (50%) of the revenue goes back to the players in prize money, about fifteen percent (15%) is used for administrative costs and retail commissions, and on average thirty-five percent (35%) supports “government services” in the member states. These range from educational support, scholarships, local aid, conservation, seniors, and more.
For example, in Arkansas the lottery money provides state reisdents with scholarships and grants to two- and four-year colleges and universities. In Colorado, the revenue is used for parks, open space conservation, various recreation facilities, and wildlife conservation. In Illinois the money goes into the Common School Fund that supports K-12 public education. In Kentucky, it funds, among other things, literacy programs. The Massachusetts Lottery uses the money to provide local aid to the 351 cities and towns in the state. The Pennsylvania Lottery designates all of its proceeds to fund programs that benefit older residents. In Wisconsin the revenues are returned as property tax relief to the state's homeowners. West Virginia uses the funds for education, senior citizen programs, and tourism. That's just a sampling of the great benefits of this multi-state lottery!
DID YOU GET A TICKET?
So do you feel better about spending $1 to dream a little? If you do win we trust that you will put the money to good use, and just in case you don't win, rest assured that the states will. Good Luck!