Powerball Lottery players are now asking, "Who won the Mega Millions jackpot-- the record highest in the history of the lottery?" For two incredibly lucky Americans, the numbers 5, 16, 22, 23, and 29 (with a Powerball of 6) will ensure that they wake up tomorrow morning splitting the $579.9 million jackpot. But though we do not know the two names of who won Mega Millions just yet, we do know the first big winners of the Powerball lottery so far: our nation's public education programs, crime prevention forces, and our environment.
The forty-two states, U.S. Virgin Islands, and one District of Columbia that participate in the Powerball lottery will win approximately one third of the Mega Millions total revenue generated so far-- the same revenue that added to an approximately $570 million dollars jackpot-- split evenly amongst the states. Once the gigantic overnight boon in state revenue has been divided amongst the states and territories, it's up to the forty-four real winners to decide what to do with the money. Since different states have different priorities, it's up to who won to decide what to do with all the money from Powerball.
Some lottery winners, like Iowa, will use their share of the Mega Millions jackpot to boost the state's general fund, which means that their share of the winnings could be allocated to wherever it is needed. For example, Colorado will use the money from the Powerball lottery revenue to go towards their environmental protection programs. Other states, like Montana, will use their share of the revenue to go towards bettering public schools and increasing school aid.
One sterling example of how states are who wins the Mega Millions jackpot is Florida, which created the Bright Futures Scholarship Fund specifically from lottery revenue generated by Powerball.
"I think it's clear that the Florida lottery has contributed to the education of Florida students," said a state spokesman.
According to a report by State Policy Reports, the states that participate in the lottery saw higher per-capita education spending than those states that did not-- thereby underscoring a statistically significant difference between those who have a Powerball lottery and those which abstain.
Another state who won Mega Millions? Arizona. With its share of the revenue, the state funds its transportation programs, a Heritage Fund geared towards conserving state funds, and the creation of a program that helps volunteers develop the skills they need to advocate for children in the court system.
"We think the lottery does real good things for Arizona," says Powerball lottery spokeswoman Kevan Kaighn.