So what's in it for us?
While lucky folks in the Kansas City area and Arizona will split a $587.5 million Powerball jackpot, duck ponds and the Nebraska State Fair also struck gold.
Iowa taxpayers and veterans made out pretty well, too.
States that have lotteries rely on the proceeds and will cash in big time due to the jackpot-frenzied sales of the past week.
So, what’s our cut?
$1 of every $2 Powerball ticket goes to prizes. The other half is kept by the state lottery in which the ticket was sold. (Powerball is played in 42 states, including Nebraska and Iowa.)
What do Nebraska and Iowa do with the money?
About 35 cents of that $1 goes to “good causes” in Iowa; in Nebraska, the “good-causes” cut is 24 percent. The rest is spent on printing, computers, administration and promotion. Between 5 and 7 percent goes to gas stations and stores that sell the tickets.
What are those “good causes?”
In Nebraska, 44.5 percent of the “good causes” funds go to educational grants and 44.5 percent go to the Nebraska Environmental Trust, for wildlife habitat projects and to restore lakes, and to deal with solid waste and air pollution. Ten percent of that money goes to the Nebraska State Fair, and 1 percent to treat compulsive gamblers.
In Iowa, lottery money helps supplement the general fund, thus replacing taxpayer dollars spent on roads, K-12 education and the like. Since 2008, proceeds from four pull-tab and scratch-off games — about $2 million to $3 million a year — have been dedicated to help veterans with medical bills, unemployment assistance and substance abuse counseling.
How much money do the games make?
Nebraska's state lottery games, which include Powerball, generated a record $36 million during the fiscal year that ended June 30. Iowa's games made $79 million, also a record. Officials in both states say that this week's jackpot may lead to new records in the next fiscal year. State lotteries have raised $458 million in Nebraska for good works since 1993; profits in Iowa total $1.4 billion since 1985.
So, how good was business?
Iowans bet $4.9 million on Powerball tickets on Wednesday alone, with Nebraskans wagering $2.6 million. Cash registers in the Hawkeye State rang up $11,000 worth of sales per minute at their peak.
Was doubling the price of a Powerball ticket a good bet?
You bet. Despite increasing the price of a ticket from $1 to $2 this year, revenue has risen 35 percent. A record $5 billion in sales is predicted in fiscal year 2012-13 in the Powerball states.
What's the bottom line?
“Our beneficiaries are going to reap the rewards of this,” Neil Watson of the Nebraska Lottery said. This report includes material from the Associated Press.