Record-Setting Mega Millions Jackpot Makes For Huge NY Lotto Payday Toward Schools

Written By Matt Boecker on February 8, 2023

The New York Lottery cashed in big time on the most recent Mega Millions drawing that surpassed $1 billion.

On Jan. 13, a lucky citizen of Maine won the jackpot, which totaled $1.35 billion. Even though the winning ticket wasn’t sold in the Empire State, New York greatly benefited from the huge prize.

That Mega Millions jackpot was one of the highest in the game’s history. The first drawing began in October 2022 and lasted about four months before someone finally won. And during that time, the New York Lottery generated over $70 million toward public education and lottery retailers.

NY Lottery reports ever-profitable stretch

From October to mid-January, $172.4 million worth of Mega Millions tickets were purchased in New York, according to a press release from the New York State Gaming Commission. All profits from those sales benefit New York’s K-12 public schools, while retailers made hefty commission totals.

During the lengthy streak leading up to the Maine jackpot winner, New York schools received $60.3 million and retailers got $10.3 million. This is the third time in the last year the Mega Millions exceeded $1 billion, and the draw game has brought lots of money to the education system and local businesses across the state.

Here’s how each entity profited from previous Mega Millions drawings that reached monumental totals:

  • Nov. 7, 2022 ($2.04 billion jackpot): schools received $85.6 million, retailers $14.7 million
  • July 29, 2022 ($1.34 billion jackpot): schools received $44.3 million, retailers $7.6 million

Here’s what Gaming Commission chairman Brian O’Dwyer said in a press release following the January Mega Millions winner:

“As the numbers show, the New York Lottery provides entertainment for millions of responsible New Yorkers and delivers real money for public schools and small businesses across the state. The Gaming Commission remains committed to supporting the Lottery’s goal of generating revenue for schools and retailers.”

Where do profits from the lottery go?

Saying the profits from the New York Lottery goes to public schools is rather vague. So here’s some background on what that means exactly.

In 1966, there was a vote to determine where the profits from the state lottery would go. Education won, gaining 66% of the vote. Since then, 100% of the profits go to the public school system.

To evenly spread the money across all the schools in the state, the New York Lottery utilizes the same statutory formula used to distribute state aid. School district sizes and income levels are variables when determining where profits go, and lower-income districts receive proportionally larger funding.

In fiscal year 2021-2022, New York’s education system received $3.6 billion from the state lottery.

Photo by AP / Seth Wenig
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Matt Boecker

Born in Oak Lawn, Illinois, Matt graduated from Northern Illinois University, where he covered NIU hockey for the Northern Star. Since then, Matt has specialized in NFL and NBA coverage for various websites and podcasts before shifting gears to casino and sports betting coverage.

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