Even as the Mega Millions jackpot soared to $136 million for Tuesday’s drawing, lottery players in Missouri may soon be forced to kiss their dreams of overnight wealth goodbye, as one of the state’s most influential politicians is leading a push to dump that state’s lottery altogether.
“I think we should let the voters have a say in whether or not our commitment to public education should be left to the whims of collecting gambling revenue,” said Republican State Representative John Diehl, who is slated to take over as the speaker of the Missouri state House in January. “The lottery, at the end of the day, is government-run gambling, and it’s been inefficient.”
Missouri’s lottery commission has been troubled recently, dogged by complaints that it fails to deliver on its promises of providing revenue for Missouri’s education system.
In September, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon, a Democrat, fired the entire board of lottery commissioners, handing his new appointees strict instructions to renew the lottery’s focus on generating funds for education.
About 25 percent of lottery revenues in Missouri end up in education coffers. The other three of every four dollars go to running the lottery operation itself — and to prize money for lottery winners.
About four percent of Missouri’s education funding comes from the state’s lottery revenues. Last year Missouri, which started its state lottery in 1984, generated its best-ever revenue total of $1.15 billion.
But at the same time, the lottery’s contribution to the state’s education fund actually dropped from the previous year.
Missouri lottery players, then, may want to jump on the latest big lottery jackpot while they still have the chance.
That would, of course, be Mega Millions, the lottery game played in 44 states — including Missouri — which went without a jackpot winner for the 12th consecutive drawing Friday night.
That means Tuesday’s $136 million Mega Millions jackpot will be the 16th-highest of 2014 — and Tuesday’s drawing will be the 80th Mega Millions lottery drawing of the year.
Of the 15 jackpots higher than $136 million, 10 came in a single winnerless streak, as Mega Millions ran up to its largest jackpot of the year, a $400 million top prize won on March 18.
Even though there was no jackpot winner — or $1 million second-prize winner — in the Mega Millions lottery Friday, there was still more than $3.1 million in prizes won. To see if any of that cash belongs to you, check your October 3 Mega Millions ticket against these numbers, drawn at 10:59 pm in Atlanta, Georgia.
3 — 20 — 34 — 58 — 67 Mega Ball 6
If you win the Mega Millions jackpot on Tuesday and want your prize money in a single payment, you will be forced to settle for the “cash value” of the jackpot, which is an estimated $80.8 million.