SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – The long wait is over for Californians who can now finally play the Powerball lottery.

“It’s a good thing for everybody because it gives everybody a chance to win,” said one woman.

There are 60 million reasons to get excited in California.

“Lottery is a big thing for me; I just play and enjoy it,” a lottery player said.

People were snapping up Powerball tickets at Lichine’s Liquor & Deli in Sacramento, hoping to be a winner. Monday was the first day of sales in California, which is now one 43 states offering the popular jackpot — usually larger than traditional lotteries.

A large amount of the Powerball proceeds will go to California schools.

“Ninety-six cents of every dollar went back to California schools,” said Elias Dominguez, California State Lottery. “We’re estimating around $40 to $50 million additionally will be sent back to California schools.”

It may sound like a lot of money, but considering the California Department of Education’s annual budget is $68 billion, it’s only a drop in the bucket.

“It’s roughly 1.5 percent of the entire California school state budget,” said Dominguez.

But lottery and school officials say every drop counts.

“When you look at it, it’s over $1 billion every year that we’re sending to California schools. So, in that sense, every dollar really does count,” Dominguez said.

Powerball Fun Facts:
The odds of winning are 1 in 175 million.
The largest Powerball cash value prize on a single ticket was $223 million in August 2012.
Indiana and Pennsylvania have produced the most Powerball jackpot winners.
About 70 to 80 percent of winning numbers are computer picks.


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