by Dan Gibson
The Arizona Lottery announced yesterday that the state's tax on those with largely hopeless dreams of instant wealth hit record numbers for the fiscal year of 2013, continuing a run of six consecutive years of new highs. $692.9 million in tickets were sold in whatever made up version of 2013 the Lottery uses, which based on 2012 Arizona population numbers would mean that $140.55 in tickets were sold per adult in our state*, although since my wife an I bought a total of $6 in tickets last year, someone (likely standing in a line at the customer service desk at a Safeway right now) is clearly making up the $275 the Gibsons aren't buying.
According to the Lottery's press release, the two largest jackpots in Powerball history contributed to this astounding numbers, plus they added some contests.
For what it's worth, while the Lottery didn't mention the total in prizes given out to winners, $176.5 million went back to the state in funding and $47.1 million in commissions were paid to retailers. So, thanks for playing, lottery aficionados?
* This is at least a little off, since the numbers I'm using were for the number of Arizonans 18 and over and you need to be 21 to buy a lottery ticket. Either way, people buy a lot of tickets.