letters | the uses of the lottery

Mass. lottery designed to enrich player more than government

Jeff Jacoby’s notion that state lotteries are designed solely to enrich the government and not the player is incorrect (“Biggest lottery winner? That’d be the Treasury,” Op-ed, Dec. 9). While there is no arguing that the Lottery serves a vital role in generating local aid revenues for the Commonwealth’s cities and towns, and that taxes collected on winnings provide a boon to government coffers, the return to Massachusetts’ lottery players in prizes far exceeds either of those figures.

For every dollar spent on lottery games in Massachusetts, approximately 72 cents is awarded back to players in prizes. Last year alone, our players won more than $3.39 billion in prizes ranging from $1 to as high as $32 million.

At 72 percent, the Massachusetts Lottery’s prize payout is by far the highest of any lottery in the nation, and is the key to our four decades of success — and that is not by chance, but by design.

Paul R. Sternburg

Executive director

Massachusetts Lottery