As Mega Millions nears record, where does the money go?

Colorado Lottery benefits from multi-state drawing
Posted at 7:37 AM, Oct 16, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-16 12:10:35-04

Did you buy your ticket yet? Tuesday's Mega Millions jackpot is $667 million, which is the largest jackpot in game history. In addition, the Powerball jackpot for Wednesday is $345 million. Combined, they total about $1 billion.

Colorado receives 50 percent of jackpot tickets. Last week's sales of Mega Millions and Powerball tickets translated to $575,000 for Colorado's beneficiaries.

So, who gets that money in Colorado? Lottery proceeds are divided among three agencies, all geared toward Colorado outdoor recreation. Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) receives 50 percent, the Department of Local Affairs receives 40 percent and Colorado Parks & Wildlife gets 10 percent.

"The money can go to anything from building trails and nature centers to helping conserve wildlife," said Lottery Director Tom Seaver. "They all help promote the lifestyle that we love here, whether it’s seeing wildlife, or getting on a trail or even swimming in a community pool because recreation projects are funded by lottery."

GOCO has an annual cap, which this year is $68.1 million. If that amount is exceeded, the overflow funds go toward school construction.

Click here to see how lottery dollars are spent in Colorado.

While the Colorado lottery is happy to promote the beneficiaries of the lottery, it does not want to encourage excessive gambling.

"The ideal customer base for us is broad, having a lot of people paying a little bit of money, rather than having a few people spending a lot of money," Seaver said.

Recently, a state audit found the Colorado Lottery was not investigating frequent winners. The audit identified 10 people who each won at least $600 at least 15 times from 2015 to 2018.

Because of this, the Colorado Lottery implemented a procedure to better track repeat winners. If a store owner or employee submits claims of more than $1,000 three times, they will be subject to a review. If a customer submits claims of more than $1,000 three times on a manual pick game, that will also trigger a review.