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California Lottery Tops $5 Billion in Sales

California’s state Lottery reported sales surpassing $5 billion for the first time in history, according to a news release sent Friday.

The Lottery billed itself as “one of the fastest growing” in the United States, with sales up 13.2% from the previous fiscal year.

Proceeds from Lottery sales go to public schools. The amount sent this year was $1.35 billion.

“It’s been an exciting year for the California Lottery, with great new games and promotions and big jackpots,” said acting Lottery Director Paula LaBrie. “We’re proud of the record-breaking amount of supplemental funds sent to California’s public schools. However, it’s a new year and we plan to work even harder to further our mission of supporting those schools and their students,” she said

The $1.35 billion resulted in an additional $65 million sent to public schools. The amount is divided among more than 1,100 public school systems statewide.

The Lottery attributes the increased sales (and school contributions) to strong sales of “Scratchers” tickets, up 9% from the prior year. “Mega Million” and “Powerball” ticket purchases saw strong growth, with people buying more tickets during periods when jackpots were exceptionally high.

“Mega Million” ticket sales reached $427 million for the year. “Powerball” ticket sales were $473 million. One large jackpot from each game was won by a California lottery player.

The Lottery also reported almost $22 million in prizes went unclaimed.

Sales have increased for Lottery tickets and games for five years in a row.

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