Mega-Millionaire or Mega-Sucker?

Friday's Mega Millions jackpot may be the largest in world history, but California has one of the nation's worst payout rates. Still, one Los Al store has sold more winning tickets than any other local store.

The good news is that if you buy a Mega Millions lottery ticket for Friday’s jackpot, you can win $540 million, the largest jackpot in world history.

The bad news is that buying a ticket is far more likely to land you among the ranks of nation’s biggest “suckers,” according to Bloomberg’s sucker rankings. Among the states that have lotteries, California has the fourth worst rate of return. In 2010, only 51 percent of the proceeds from ticket sales were returned as winnings. The rest is used to fund state programs in departments such as education.

That's not stopping locals from lining up for their shot at being 1 in 175,711,536. A 7-Eleven clerk on PCH in Seal Beach sold more than 3,000 tickets in a single evening shift Thursday night (Full disclousre: this reporter bought five. If there are no stories posted on this site Saturday, you'll know why). The store has plans for extra staffing and crowd control measures in place for the last minute rush sure to come Friday afternoon.

According to the California Lottery, a cash payout for a single jackpot winner today would be $389.8 million. If a winner chooses the annual payment option, it would be $20.7 million a year for 26 years -- before taxes. There have been 18 Mega Millions draws without a jackpot winner, leading to Friday's record-breaking prize.

The low rate of return does little to dampen Californians' enthusiasm for the lottery. According to Bloomberg’s analyses, California adults spend an average of $109 per year playing the lottery. That is much lower than Massachusetts residents who spend an average of $861 per adult – more than any other state in the nation.

You are far more likely to die from a Flesh-eating bacteria (1 in 1 million) than you are to win Friday’s jackpot.  But if you are feeling lucky, try heading over to the at 4320 Katella Avenue in Los Alamitos. It’s the only store in Los Alamitos, Rossmoor or Seal Beach to ever sell two jackpot—winning tickets, according to the California Lottery. The retailer who sells the winning ticket will receive a bonus of $1 million.

Good luck, Suckers!

-City News Contributed to this report.

marisol gold March 30, 2012 at 09:24 AM
are you kidding me? are you saying that it is bad that much of the money goes to fund education? who is the sucker here?
Richard M March 30, 2012 at 02:36 PM
I think it would be smarter to be one of the retailers, who get a cut of every winning ticket they sell. Does anyone know if they have to pay to be a seller of Lottery tickets?
Emily Knell March 30, 2012 at 04:16 PM
This is Keno, 6 numbers, whether 1 ticket is bought or 100,000,000 tickets are bought, everyone has the same chance of winning. Why not buy a billboard on the 15 fwy at St. Rose Pkwy in Vegas & in big bold letters put "Hey You Gambling Suckers, Don't Play Here In Vegas, Don't You Know the House Always Wins?!?!" See how much Mrs. Mayor Goodman likes that ad! Like Obama who told people not to go & spend their money in Vegas, casino & business owners were thrilled with that statement too. People are always going to spend a couple bucks to win mega bucks!


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