With a jackpot of $121 million, Lubbockites are flocking to local convenient stores to buy Mega Millions tickets. Chances of Tuesday night's Mega Millions jackpot are only one in 135 million but it's a gamble many are willing to take.
So just where does all that money go? The money from Mega Millions is divided in three ways: On average 35% of all ticket sales go to support government services in the member states. That means Texas can choose to put money into public education, health or aide cities and counties. Approximately 50% of every dollar wagered goes back to the players as prizes. And 5% goes to retailers who sell the tickets, and for administrative costs.
Two months ago, Texas was the 11th state to join Mega Millions. Since then, $60 million in sales have been made.
So what would you do with $121 million? And with such slim odds, what makes people go back to buy ticket after ticket? We sent NewsChannel 11's Ashley Rodriquez out to ask those exact questions.
Some people we found today were first time buyers while others play week after week. And really, you mentioned, one in 135 million have a chance to win the jackpot but one in 43 have a chance to win some part of the pot.
Lottery tickets were selling like hot cakes on Tuesday. Many gamblers went for the usual and instant winning scratch off tickets, while others lined up for a chance at the $121 million Mega Millions jackpot. "I came to get the Mega Millions and I wanted to do multiple picks so I don't have to keep coming back."
Tell me why do you play the lottery? "Lucky chance. I was playing the other lottery and just yesterday we won $110 so you just never know."
How often do you play? "We play every week."
What would you do if you won $121 million? "I'd be in Key West Florida right now," said Lotto buyer Steve Walls.
"I would definitely go part time in my job and I would put it in savings," Spring Willingham said.
"Get out of debt, give my kid everything she wants and enjoy life," Monte Bowman said.
So do these gamblers know what their chances are?
"Not very good but there's always a chance," Walls said.
"Very slim," Willingham said.
"Slim to none, but you got to have a chance. If you don't play you can't," Bowman said.
Reta Villanueva a clerk at Town and Country says she wishes each and every one of them good luck when she passes those numbers over the counter. "There was this one gentleman that I told him good luck and he came back later and gave me $10 and I said no I can't take that. And he said no, the reason I'm giving it to you is because everybody all the other cashiers always say remember me if you win. And I just say good luck."
Mega Million Numbers for February 10th Drawing
Lotto Texas is the state's other main lottery drawing. Its jackpot stands at $6 million for Wednesday night's drawing. Texas lottery officials say it is still doing well even with the Mega Millions competition.
Here's a breakdown of where Lotto Texas money goes... for every one dollar spent on a lottery ticket, 58 cents goes back to pay the lottery prizes. 30 cents goes toward state revenue. Seven cents for administration costs, and five cents goes to retailers who sell the tickets.
Since it was established in 1992, the Texas Lotto has generated more than $11 billion for the State of Texas.
Revenue to the State of Texas. Between 1992 and 1997, about $4.9 billion in lottery revenues went to the general revenue fund. Effective September 1, 1997, legislative action dedicated lottery revenue to the foundation school fund. Since 1997, $5.9 billion has gone to the foundation school fund, used for school districts' public education services at the local level. In 2003, lottery contributions equaled $888.2 million, or about 9.5% of the $9.4 billion appropriated from the foundation school fund.
Unclaimed lottery prize funds revert to the state to be appropriated for health care, medical education, and other programs authorized by the state legislature.