The Mega Millions jackpot is at a whopping $340 million for the July 13 drawing, and, because we all love a good get rich story, many people have flocked to their local gas stations and convenient stores to buy tickets, hoping they’re the lucky overnight millionaire. Thing is, the odds of actually winning the lottery are 1-in-259 million, per CBS News, meaning you might be better off throwing cash down the toilet than hope to win tonight’s Mega Millions drawing. That said, you can’t win if you don’t play.
With so many people hoping to win tonight’s $340 million Mega Millions jackpot, it got us thinking how much money is actually being spent on tickets, and where all that cash goes. After doing some digging, we found the answer from a recent CNN article about the topic, which gave us the cold hard truth: Americans love their lottery!
According to the aforementioned CNN piece, Americans spent $73.5 billion on traditional lotto tickets, according to the North American Association of State and Provincial Lotteries (NASPL). When you add in the $80 billion Americans play in electric lottery games, well, it’s enough to feed a small country!
The CNN article went on to say that an average of $325 a year is spent on lottery tickets for every U.S. adult. That breaks down to just over $27 per month, which is about 14 Mega Millions tickets, given the $2 price tag on those.
Unfortunately, many of us will never see a dime of a million-dollar jackpot, outside of maybe a few bucks from a scratch-off tickets. Still, that doesn’t mean we won’t keep on trying. And, at the very least, with each loss comes a sense of good deed, because our financial losses on purchasing lotto tickets are at least going to a good cause, per CNN Money.
Most of that money — about $16.7 billion — went to education, while $2.5 billion went into state general funds, and $1.3 billion was spent on social programs for the homeless, the elderly and drug and alcohol treatment. Another $1.7 billion was spread among other government programs, with the smallest sliver of that pie — about $20 million — going toward state programs for problem gamblers.
OK, so winning millions of dollars through the Mega Millions might be more rewarding, but, hey, at least your money isn’t going towards the winning person, right? That has to be a little comforting, no?
Anyway, for those hoping that Friday the 13th will be their luckiest day on planet earth, get out there and scoop up those Mega Millions tickets, because there’s $340 million up for grabs. And, hey, if you don’t win, know that you’ll be doing your part in helping a bunch of state-funded programs for the betterment of the less fortunate.
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