New York Powerball Sales Revisited: Generate $86 Million for Schools

New York Powerball sales for the $2.04 billion jackpot may seem long ago and far away, with a winner declared on Election Day nearly 2,500 miles from Clymer, NY. However, the sales for that lottery jackpot’s run generated $86 million for schools and $15 million for some retailers in the state.

So says the New York State Gaming Commission in a press release published on Monday.

From Aug. 6 to Nov. 7, the Powerball jackpot grew, and Americans in 48 states bought a lot of the $2 tickets. New Yorkers alone spent $244.5 million on them, the commission says.

That’s where the more than $100 million for schools and retailers comes from, the announcement says.

Commission Chairman Brian O’Dwyer opines:

The numbers speak for themselves: The New York Lottery provides fun and entertainment for millions of responsible New Yorkers while also repeatedly smashing revenue records for public schools and supporting small businesses across the state.

Yes, that’s the same O’Dwyer who spoke on Oct. 3 about the “tabula rasa” status of picking the three operators who can buy full retail casino licenses for downstate facilities. The three-member New York Gaming Facility Location Board that O’Dwyer helped appoint that day will begin accepting license applications on Jan. 6.

Meanwhile, the public is seeing the possible applicants ahead of time – including “Caesars Palace Times Square” and 9 West 57th St., giving Midtown Manhattan a new, giant Ferris wheel.

New York Powerball Sales Part of $3.6 Billion for Schools

During Fiscal Year 2021-2022, the commission says the New York Lottery contributed $3.6 billion to schools in the state.

That money comes in with each ticket sale.

For instance, before the $2.04 billion New York Powerball sales run, there was the $1.34 billion Mega Millions jackpot won in Illinois on July 29. The commission says $127 million in New York ticket sales generated $44 million for the state’s schools. (Plus, $7.6 million went to some retailers.)

By comparison, the California Lottery reports that during Fiscal Year 2020-2021, it gave $1.8 billion to public schools. That’s the lottery that announced on Nov. 8 that the winning ticket was sold at Joe’s Service Center in Altadena, Calif.

That day, the California Lottery said of the Powerball sales:

California’s schools will receive $156.3 million from this jackpot and all the rolls leading up to it. This is the highest contribution to education generated from a single rolling sequence in the Lottery’s history.

That’s about $70 million more than New York Powerball sales provided to schools.

Some Retailers Benefited From New York Powerball Sales

In California, the retailer selling the winning $2.04 billion Powerball ticket got a $1 million bonus.

In New York, retailer commissions totaled $15 million for the following Powerball ticket sales:

• Ten $1 million second prize winners

• One Powerplay winner of $2 million

• 116 $50,000 winners

• Six Powerplay winners of $100,000

• One Powerplay winner of $150,000.

However, not all sales happened at brick-and-mortar stores.

Lottery ticket app Jackpocket says 15% of the New York Powerball sales happened via its platform.

Part of that may be because the New York Lottery doesn’t sell Powerball tickets online. Nor does it offer individual tickets for the products it does provide on its site. Players can only buy Mega Millions, Cash4Life, and Lotto game subscriptions online.

Perhaps that also impacted Jackpocket positively for the July 29 Mega Millions run, when 9% of New Yorkers bought tickets on its app.

Is School Aid Meant to Make New Yorkers Feel Good?

On Thursday, The New Yorker published a piece by Kathryn Schulz titled What We’ve Lost Playing the Lottery.

She opines:

Today, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, lotteries bring in, on average, about one per cent of state revenue per year. Like all money, it matters, but whatever difference it makes is offset by two problems. The first is that lotteries have made it harder than ever to pass much needed tax increases, because, thanks to years of noisy campaigning followed by decades of heavy promotion, the public wrongly believes that schools and other vital services are lavishly supported by gambling funds. The second is that the money raised by lotteries comes largely from the people who can least afford to part with it.

In July, GOBankingRates released research saying New Yorkers are in third place in terms of per capita lottery spending. Each year, an average New Yorker spends $539.47 on lottery tickets.

That’s 57% of what Massachusettsans outlay annually. GOBankingRates says residents of that state are No. 1, purchasing $951.92 in lottery tickets per person during 2020.

About the Author

Heather Fletcher

Heather Fletcher covers online casino news for NY Sports Day. Prior to that, she spent a dozen years writing about marketing and working in that field. She was also a newspaper reporter in Ohio and eventually saw her bylines published in The New York Times.

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