Every year, state lotteries are selling billions of dollars worth of tickets. A big part of that money is supposed to go back into funding education or at least that is what we are led to believe. Recent research from The New York Times shows that most of the money from lotteries is actually used to fund the games themselves. The lottery money accounts for only between less than 1 percent to 5 percent of the total funding for K-12 education last year.
The graphics Hannah Fairfield, Ron Nixon and I did shows where the money from ticket sales goes and lottery spending per resident for the 42 states and the District of Columbia that have lottery programs.