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Powerball, Mega Millions sales from big jackpots help boost state budgets - to a point

FILE - In this Feb. 19, 2014 photo a billboard advertises Powerball in Spanish in Miami. The scores of losing players in this week’s $425 million Powerball jackpot did more than take an extremely long shot at getting rich, they also helped fund a small but increasingly important part of their states’ budgets. In all, about $20 billion out of the roughly $70 billion in overall annual lottery revenues is used by states. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky, File)

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FILE - In this Feb. 19, 2014 photo a billboard advertises Powerball in Spanish in Miami. The scores of losing players in this week’s $425 million Powerball jackpot did more than take an extremely long shot at getting rich, they also helped fund a small but increasingly important part of their states’ budgets. In all, about $20 billion out of the roughly $70 billion in overall annual lottery revenues is used by states. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky, File)

IOWA CITY, Iowa - The scores of losing players in this week's $425 million Powerball jackpot did more than take an extremely long shot at getting rich. Their ticket purchases also helped fund a small but increasingly important part of their states' budgets.

Changes in the nationwide Powerball and Mega Millions games have led to some of the world's largest jackpots in the last two years, boosting sales.

Fueled by the growth of those games and steady expansion of other offerings, many state lotteries reported record revenues last year. That means a little more money for the state services that lotteries help fund, including education and public safety.

Lottery revenue, especially cash from highly hyped jackpot games, makes up a small percentage of most states' budgets. But state lottery directors say every dollar counts.

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