Jan 5, 2011 8:10 PM by Zach Thaxton
Coloradans spent nearly $2.5 million on tickets for Tuesday's $355 million Mega Millions drawing. The largest payout for any ticket bought in Colorado was $250,000. Much of the revenue from sales of Mega Millions tickets and all other Colorado Lottery games goes back into communities in the form of projects funded by Great Outdoors Colorado (GoCo), the Conservation Trust Fund, and the Colorado Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation.
"With our GoCo grants, recently Section 16 was the benefactor of a million-dollar grant from GoCo for its purchase and we've also used GoCo funds for the acquisition of Red Rock Canyon," said Kurt Schroeder with the Colorado Springs Department of Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Services. "We've begun to rely more and more on funds we get from the lottery through the Conservation Trust Fund to provide our day-to-day maintenance of our parks."
Projects that have benefitted from lottery proceeds include Cheyenne Mountain State Park, the skate park at Memorial Park, the Historic Arkansas Riverwalk Project (HARP) in Pueblo, and the Minnequa Lake Park and Open Space Project. Colorado State Parks spokesperson Deb Frasier says Cheyenne State Park, the Colorado's newest state park, "wouldn't have been possible" if not for lottery proceeds.
Playing the lottery can have its drawbacks, however. Some who play the lottery buy tickets for every drawing, spending far more than than they win. The chance of winning the jackpot can make purchasing a ticket irresistable for some, especially on the rare occasion they win some money back. "It's a random reinforcement schedule," said Max Stager, a Licensed Professional Counselor with AspenPointe, "which means I'm rewarded periodically for doing this thing. Those behaviors are very difficult to extinguish, so they could become habitual and could actually grow."