Powerball a windfall for state coffers

The state's general fund won a Powerball prize of its own, the Connecticut Lottery announced Thursday, with $9.6 million in profits as residents loaded up on tickets, hoping for a multimillion-dollar jackpot.

The $9.6 million is the state's take of the record sale of more than $24 million in Powerball tickets throughout Connecticut during the past two months. The money will help reduce the state's $365 million budget shortfall, which led Gov. Dannel P. Malloy Wednesday to institute $170 million in cuts, with further reductions yet to come.

Lottery officials said residents vying for the $587.5 million Powerball jackpot bought 148,555 winning tickets, with three of them hitting the first five numbers but none getting the final lucky number. Two tickets were worth $1 million, and another hit for $2 million based on a $1 Powerplay that doubled the prize.

The Powerball drawing Wednesday led to the announcement of two jackpot-winning tickets nationwide, one in Arizona and another in Missouri. The state said it had not yet determined where the winning tickets in Connecticut had been sold.

Prizes in the state ranged from $4 to $2 million, lottery officials said.

Lottery winnings in the state go into the General Fund to be spent in a variety of ways.

"In addition to funding education and public health services, lottery profits provide much needed monies for conservation, judicial services, property tax reimbursements to towns, hospitals, and more," Anne M. Noble, president and CEO of the Connecticut Lottery, said in a statement.

Powerball ticket sales began Oct. 6 and ended Wednesday. The winning numbers were 5-16-22-23-29 and a Powerball of 6. Winning tickets must be redeemed by May 27.

So far this year, lottery profits have sent $310 million to the General Fund. A record $659.9 million in prize money has been won by players as well, Connecticut Lottery officials said.

l.howard@theday.com

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