New law would change distribution of lottery revenue to cities, towns in Massachusetts

Massachusetts

CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – The state lottery saw the highest net profit ever this year. As more tickets are sold, more money gets put into local cities and towns. 

Massachusetts residents buy the most lottery tickets per capita, and for every dollar, you spend on the lotto, 20 cents goes back to cities and towns for local aid. This year, that totals $1.1 billion. 

“They have the dates on them,” said Luc Ramos of Holyoke. “September, October.” 

Ramos works at the C-Mart in Holyoke. She said lottery tickets are, “Very popular. I have customers here starting first thing in the morning. Prior sometimes to even opening the door.” 

And sometimes she lends her customers a little luck. 

“10 weeks ago, I sold a $5,000 winner,” Ramos told 22News. 

But Ramos doesn’t just work in Holyoke, she’s a 35-year resident. And she said win or lose, it’s nice knowing some of the money customers spend goes right back to her city. 

“Well appreciated for all of the people that really need it,” she told 22News. 

So how does the lottery decide how to split the revenue up across its 351 cities and towns? It’s a formula that looks at things like population size and property values. This year, Springfield saw a whopping $40 million in lottery money. 

$1 million lottery ticket sold in Springfield

In Holyoke, $10 million. But a proposed law would change the way the distribution is formulated. The new law would distribute money “in direct proportion” to the total revenue coming from lotto sales in that city or town.  

Last year in Longmeadow, which has only seven outlets that sell lottery tickets, received $1.4 million and neighboring East Longmeadow, which has 21 lottery ticket vendors, which received $1.5 million.  

That money is earmarked for anything in particular but goes into their general fund. Easthampton Mayor Nicole LaChapelle said it can help make up for gaps in the budget. 

“The beautiful thing about that money is it fills the gaps where the state doesn’t give us as much money as we need,” said Mayor LaChapelle. “We know we’re getting something, and as we’re looking at increased energy costs and equipment, it’s really helpful. It’s a big deal.” 

LaChapelle’s city received $2.9 million in lotto money this year. 

That lottery bill is currently sitting in the Committee on Consumer Protection. 

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