On Friday night, a Mega Millions jackpot of more than $500 million is in the offing. Somebody -- or more likely, multiple somebodies -- will probably win big.
The guaranteed winners of lotteries, though, are state treasuries, which can receive several hundred million dollars a year on annual ticket sales of over $1 billion. The costs of operating a lottery are relatively low, the margins are excellent, and in this new era of government austerity, the funds they generate are even more important. Many states rely on lottery revenues to beef up education budgets: In New York, the lottery accounts for 5 percent of education spending. In others, the money goes into the general fund.
But the numbers that might most interest individuals are their own odds of winning, and where the payouts are the best.
View our gallery on The 10 States That Pay Out the Biggest Lottery Jackpots here.
Michael Sauter, Associate Research Editor
24/7 Wall St., LLC.