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Md. Lottery Brings In $519 Million In FY2011

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(Credit: AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

(Credit: AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Lottery ticket sales are breaking records once again.

Monique Griego has more on why that means big money for Maryland.

Lottery ticket machines have been working overtime.

“Everybody is trying to hit the big one,” said Salice Hill.

Hill throws down dollars on everything from scratchers to the big jackpots.

“With the economy the way it is, the lottery is the best thing going, the best thing that’s legal,” Hill said.

For the 14th year in a row, lottery sales are breaking records.  This year, sales topped nearly $1.7 billion, an increase of nearly $9 million over 2010.

“I’m not surprised.  The economy’s down; a lot of people are trying to get lucky,” said Vailary Mayo.

What a lot of people may not know is every time a lottery ticket is sold, a big part of the sales goes back into the state of Maryland.

Stephen Martino, the director of the Maryland State Lottery, says higher sales don’t just equal higher payouts for players.

“Every dollar that comes from lottery revenue is a dollar that doesn’t have to come from taxes,” Martino said.

This year, the state’s general fund will get $519 million from lottery sales.  The education trust fund will receive an additional $50 million from casino slot profits.  So just because you don’t hit the jackpot doesn’t mean your ticket isn’t paying out somewhere.

Payouts for winners also increased this year, but only by a small percentage.  In all, the Maryland State Lottery paid out around $1 billion in prizes.

Since being created in 1973, the lottery has contributed $12.2 billion in revenue for the state.

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