Arizona lottery change could mean more money for foster child advocates

PHOENIX - Lottery players aren't the only ones who could win more this fall when the Mega Millions game changes. The ticket price will double, from $1 to $2, and the minimum jackpot starts at $40 million from $15 million.  

"The higher jackpots really do show for more interest and participation in the game," Arizona Lottery spokeswoman Nikki O'Shea told ABC15. 

With more people playing, a portion inadvertently forget to cash in on their winnings, especially lower-tier prizes. 

Thirty-percent of those funds benefit an organization providing mentors and advocates to Arizona foster kids. 

"When there's a big jackpot the sales do go up and our funds do go up as well," said Allison Hurtado, Outreach Specialist for CASA of Arizona. 

"If you win two dollars and you forget to go pick that up, we benefit from some of that."

Last year, CASA received nearly $4 million from the lottery to support a network of more than a thousand volunteers statewide.

"That money is what allows us to have a CASA program in every county in Arizona," Hurtado said. 

When the Powerball ticket price changed from $1 to $2 in 2012, game sales in Arizona rose 37-percent. The higher price led to higher jackpots, drawing more people to the game, O'Shea said. Administrators of Mega Millions hope this change will spur similar excitement. 

"We have reached our capacity," Hurtado said, "So when more money comes in we're able to hire more staff to support more volunteers to serve more children."

 
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