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The California Lottery is setting sales records, but contributions to education haven’t kept pace

Aaron Mendelson Jul 18, 2018
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A Powerball ticket sits on the counter at Kavanagh Liquors on January 13, 2016 in San Lorenzo, California. Dozens of people lined up outside of Kavanagh Liquors, a store that has had several multi-million dollar winners, to -purchase Powerball tickets in hopes of winning the estimated record-breaking $1.5 billion dollar jackpot. 
Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The California Lottery is breaking sales records. This year, revenues will soar to an estimated $6.9 billion. The recent boom has been fueled by a wave of gigantic jackpots. Newer games like Powerball and a $30 scratch ticket offer huge prizes, and California’s lottery players have responded by gambling more and more. Surging revenue should be good news for the state’s schools, the lottery’s only beneficiary. Yet even as ticket sales have skyrocketed, California schools aren’t seeing much of a return on that investment. Contributions to education by the lottery are essentially unchanged from 12 years ago, even though revenues are up by billions because lawmakers changed the rules governing the lottery in 2010. You can read more about the California Lottery in KPCC/LAist’s deep dive.

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