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Lawmakers Looking Forward To Gambling Payout From Mega Millions

Friday night, the largest lottery jackpot in the history of the US will be up for grabs in the Mega Millions game. The $540 million top prize is a figure that has never been seen before, and it has potential winners drooling at the idea of becoming one of the richest people in the country.

"I seriously don't even know what I would do with that kind of money," said Marion Blanchard, of Ohio. "I would imagine I would be giving a lot of the money away to charity, and to family and friends who need help. Heck, I could survive comfortably for the rest of my life with just $1 million, never mind $500 million. Wow, that would be something."

Lawmakers in the 42 states where the Mega Millions operates are equally excited about the prospects of one of their residents winning the top prize. All states have varying tax rates that lottery winners must pay, but with a number as large as $540 million, the chunk going to the government will be substantial regardless of the tax rate.

"I would imagine that tens of millions of dollars would go a long way towards closing budget deficits in many states," said Gaming Analyst Brad Dawkins. "I think outside of California, any state that offers the Mega Millions lottery would be thrilled to have one of their own win that type of cash."

California does not stand to prosper from a native winner. The state does not tax lottery winnings, a stark contrast to New York, a state that charges winners nearly eight percent. Ohio would also stand to gain over $20 million should an Ohioan win the grand prize.

Recent years have seen a boom of major casino gambling in the US, and state lotteries have also expanded. Dozens of states are considering taking their lottery sales online, and they received a boost in December when the Department of Justice issued an opinion that only sports betting is illegal under the Wire Act. That left the door open for other forms of online gambling, such as the lottery, to be offered to local residents.

The Mega Millions lottery and the Powerball lottery are the two most prevalent interstate lotteries in the country. Until now, Powerball held the record for top jackpot figure, but the amount of people purchasing tickets for Friday's Mega Millions drawing has moved the current Mega Millions jackpot into first place all-time.

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