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Record-breaking jackpots propel Mass. State Lottery ticket sales

Keith Srakocic/Associated Press

Lottery ticket sales in Massachusetts over the last four weeks more than tripled figures from the previous year, after jackpots for the Mega Millions and Powerball drawings neared record highs, lottery officials said.

Sales for the Mega Millions game neared $42 million, while Powerball sales topped $29 million, according to the Massachusetts State Lottery. Combined, the two sales figures account for a 342.8 percent increase year over year.

Mega Millions sales were up 705.9 percent over the same time period a year ago, which reached nearly $5.2 million. Powerball sales were up 170.6 percent compared to last year’s sales at nearly $10.9 million, according to the lottery.

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The increased sales came as both games pushed toward record-high jackpots. The Mega Millions prize sat at $1 billion for Friday night’s drawing, while the Powerball prize sat at $731 million for last Wednesday night’s drawing. Both prizes were hit, with a player in Novi, Mich., taking home the Mega Millions prize and a player in Lonaconning, Md., winning Powerball, according to lottery officials.

Winners could choose between the listed jackpot prize as an annuity split over 30 years or a cash option. The cash option in the Mega Millions drawing was $739.6 million while the cash option for the Powerball drawing was $546.8 million.

It was the first time both jackpots had topped $700 million simultaneously, lottery officials said. The Mega Millions prize was the second highest in the history of the game and third highest in the history of the lottery. The Powerball prize was the fourth highest in the history of the game and the fifth highest in the history of the lottery.

The state sold more than 5.5 million tickets for the $1 billion Mega Millions drawing and more than 3.5 million tickets for the $731 million Powerball drawing.

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Every dollar spent on Mega Millions and Powerball tickets nets Massachusetts 42 cents in revenue, lottery officials said. That money is then used to provide unrestricted local aid to every city and town in the Commonwealth.

Lottery retailers take home 6 percent of their sales as commissions and bonuses, according to lottery officials. Over the last four weeks, retailers earned more than $4 million from ticket sales.

Tickets for the Mega Millions and Powerball drawings cost $2 and are available in 45 states, Washington D.C., and the US Virgin Islands.

Though the grand prize for either game was not hit until last week, three players in Massachusetts won $1 million jackpots in the last month.

An unknown player in Worcester won $1 million in the Powerball on Jan. 23. Israel Arroyo of Springfield took home $1 million in the Mega Millions on Jan. 8 and Frank Defazio of Melrose won $1 million in the Powerball on Dec. 23.

A player in New Hampshire won $2 million in the Powerball on Jan. 16.

Correction: Because of a reporting error, the earnings of the lottery and ticket retailers were incorrect. The Globe regrets the error.



Charlie McKenna can be reached at charlie.mckenna@globe.com.