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How much money is spent on lottery tickets in Pennsylvania each year?

Lotto-fever struck the nation once again in October, as the Mega Millions jackpot ballooned to more than $1 billion. A single ticket matching all five numbers and the mega ball was sold in South Carolina, making the winner or winners $1.54 billion richer.

That single payout is equivalent to more than half of all the money paid to lottery winners in Pennsylvania for all lottery games and drawings in a given year.

During the 2016–17 fiscal year, which runs from July 1 to June 30, the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue handed out more than $2.5 billion in winnings, according to Department of Revenue Data.

Another $211 million was paid to retailers who sold the winning tickets.

In Cumberland County, more than $42 million was paid to winners, and retailers received more than $3.5 million in commissions.

While that’s a lot of money, as the saying goes, the house always wins.

Across the state, consumers spent more than $4 billion to play the lottery during the 2016-17 fiscal year, according to the Department of Revenue.

According to the Pennsylvania Lottery website, another 2 percent of ticket sales goes to operating expenses, leaving the state with more than $1.1 billion in profit from ticket sales.

That money is used to assist Pennsylvania seniors through programs that offer services like offsetting property taxes and rent costs, prescription drug cost assistance, free and reduced-fare transportation services and assistance to local senior centers.

Programs in Cumberland County received more than $14 million in assistance from the Pennsylvania Lottery during the 2016-17 fiscal year, according to the Lottery’s website.

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About $4.2 billion was spent on tickets during the 2017–18 fiscal year, with $2.7 billion paid to winners and more than $1 billion paid to programs, according to the Pennsylvania Lottery website.

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Email Joshua Vaughn at jvaughn@cumberlink.com. Follow him on Twitter at @Sentinel_Vaughn.

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