Where does all that lottery money go besides the winner?

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The Mega Millions and Powerball jackpots total more than $2 billion, and a lot of money is up for grabs.

Wednesday’s Powerball is at $620 million and Tuesday’s Mega Millions is up to $1.6 billion, but that money goes more places than just the winner.  

Of every dollar played in the Kentucky Lottery, 61 cents goes to the winner, 6 cents to administrative costs, 6 cents to retailers who sell the tickets and 27 cents to the commonwealth for college scholarship and grant programs.

“$3.3 billion, with a b, has gone to those programs: the need-based programs that we fund as well as the KEES (Kentucky Educational Excellence Scholarship) program over the past 19 years," said Chip Polston, Senior Vice President of Communication with the Kentucky Lottery.

With so many lotto dreams up in the air, lots of people are playing. The Kentucky Lottery says excitement picks up around $200-300 million.

“We've only been over $1 billion twice before, so there's a tremendous amount of interest,” Polston said.

An average three months worth of tickets were sold just last week alone. That's why the Mega Millions grew by $600 million since last Friday. But even though more people are playing right now, that doesn't mean more money automatically go into the scholarship and grant programs.

“We don't say that additional dollars are raised during a big run like this, because we flat-line budget the sales numbers from Mega Millions all year,” Polston said. “And after this amazing run that we've had right now, there's a hangover that will kick in for a while. It will take it a little bit for sales to get back up to their normal level.”

The Kentucky Lottery is handing out 400 vouchers Tuesday for free lotto tickets at 4 p.m. at the Hikes Point Kroger on Breckenridge Lane.

Across the river in Indiana, money from the lottery sales also goes a variety of places. Money goes to the winners, Build Indiana Fund, police and firefighter pensions, the teachers' retirement fund as well as retailers who sell tickets. 

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