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How much money do lotteries generate and how much goes to winners, government

Mega Millions Jackpot
Posted at 11:54 AM, Jan 12, 2023

Friday’s Mega Millions jackpot will top $1.3 billion for just the second time in the history of the lottery.

While the winner is set to make a considerable fortune, other groups stand to make a lot as well.

According to the National Association of State and Provincial Lotteries, U.S. lotteries generated over $98 billion in revenue. Of that amount, $63 billion, or about 65 percent, was returned to winners. Over $28 billion are paid out to various beneficiaries of lotteries. In many states, those funds are strictly allocated to public schools.

In some areas, those funds are distributed to the state’s general fund, which can be used for practically any purpose of government.

A small amount of the funds also go to the operation of the lottery. Retailers also can claim prizes for selling large winning tickets.

In general, lotteries might have large payouts, but the chances of making money off the lottery are slim. For every $100 a person spends on the lottery, they could expect a $65 return, meaning they would be out $35. The chances of winning Friday's Mega Millions jackpot stand at about one in 302 million.

To see how your state spends its lottery funds, click here.