The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

February 18, 2014

Record profits benefit seniors

The Daily Item

— With an estimated $400 million riding on tonight’s Powerball drawing, there are a lot of gamblers who will spend the day forking over money for a shot at the jackpot.

But it’s not the only game in town that people are shelling out their hard-earned bucks on hoping for a quick payday. In case you haven’t heard, there’s a newcomer in the Pennsylvania Lottery’s arsenal of scratch-off tickets called “Three Million” and it’s drawing a lot of attention.

The good news is that players of “Three Million” have about a 1-in-3 chance of at least getting their money back. The not-so-good news is that each ticket costs $30, the most expensive scratch-off the state Lottery has ever offered.

And losing $30 at a pop can be pretty painful.

Around mid-month, The Daily Item prints the names of local scratch-off ticket winners ($1,000 and up) and the tickets they scratched to win. On the list published this week, not a single $1,000-or-more “Three Million” winner was mentioned, locally or otherwise.

Then again, there are just four $3 million winning tickets out there. Since 6.6 million of these tickets went on sale in January, not one of those four winners has been claimed. The odds of scratching off one of those are 1 in 1.65 million.

Of the 15 tickets with a $300,000 prize, only one has been won.

Win or lose, feel better knowing there are always winners and they are our senior citizens. This new ticket only helps the cause. Ours is the only state lottery that designates all of its proceeds to programs that benefit older residents. Thanks to players, according to the lottery website, since 1971 the Pennsylvania Lottery has contributed more than $23.7 billion to programs that include low-cost prescription drugs, free and reduced-fare transit, property tax/rent rebates, long-term living services and senior centers. Last year, the lottery generated more than $1 billion in benefits for those services.

The numbers rolling in are huge: The Pennsylvania Lottery set a new sales record for 2012-13 at $3.7 billion, surpassing the $3.48 billion record set in 2011-12 by 6.3 percent. This is the third consecutive year for record sales.

With record sales come record profits of $1.07 billion for 2012-13, a $6.5 million or 0.6 percent increase over 2011-12 total profits. It was the fourth year in a row there has been an increase in total profits.

Always play responsibly — and good luck.

n To find out how much goes to aid seniors in Union, Northumberland, Montour and Snyder counties and information on the benefit programs, go to Click on the following link: