Melanie Jacobson shows how two dollars are converted into a Mega Million lottery ticket on Wednesday August 3, 2022.
FRANKLIN — Get-rich-quick Utahans crowded across the border into convenience stores, spending $2 apiece for a chance to win the more than $1 billion Mega Millions Dollar jackpot.
On July 29, someone from Illinois drew the winning numbers for $1.337 billion. From this, the winnings that this person will take home are $780.5 million.
In some states like Illinois, the winner may remain anonymous.
David Workman, public information specialist for the Idaho Lottery, said the days leading up to last Friday’s Mega Millions lottery ticket sales were crazy.
“Statewide, Idaho sold $4,568,990 in lottery tickets,” he said. “In Franklin County, we sold $242,324 worth of tickets at $2 a ticket.”
Most of the parking lots of businesses that sold lottery tickets in Franklin County were filled with cars with Utah license plates the last four days before the draw. Some people would walk in and see the line and head to the next place that sold lottery tickets.
“That’s a lot of tickets from the four or five stores in Franklin County who sell lottery tickets,” Workman said. “The four days leading up to the Idaho lottery sold at least $1 million a day.”
Workman was in Preston on Wednesday, awarding nearly $500 to a teacher who applied for it from the Lottery Commission.
“For the past three years, we’ve started a program for teachers who have needs that they would take out of pocket to buy things,” Workman said. “We had a request for money to purchase replacement table legs for the tables students were using at Preston Jr. High School.”
Mega Millions isn’t the only lottery game played in Idaho. There are 11 different lottery games to play.
Brad Duke of Star, Idaho won $220 million in the Powerball Jackpot in 2005.
The Idaho Lottery started in 1989 and is a function of the state government. They are members of the Multi-State Lottery Association. While 45 states and the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands have legalized the lottery. Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii, Utah and Nevada kept the lottery out of their states.
They claim to have spent $1,067,888,605 on schools in Idaho.
Each year, the Idaho Lottery nets between $3 million and $5 million in unclaimed winnings.
Lottery winners have up to one year to claim their winnings or the money goes back to the Idaho Lottery Commission. The money is then donated to Idaho Public Schools, the Bond Levy Equalization Fund, or used for lottery administration.
Last year, the Idaho Lottery gave back $72 million to the state, and in 30 years it has given back more than $1.34 billion to the Gem State in one form or another.