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The fiscal year that ended June 30 was the best on record for the Virginia Lottery, which launched in 1988. This year, the lottery earned a record $487 million profit. The previous record was $455 million, which was set in 2008.
Lottery players collected $962 million in prizes this year, an $81 million increase over the previous year. But George Mason economics professor Bryan Caplan says the lottery is a tax on the willing.
"The people who are most likely to buy lottery tickets are people with lower education and lower IQ because it's such a horrible deal."
Lottery officials say an unprecedented $656 million Mega Millions jackpot in March was a factor in the increase in revenue. Improved sales of instant scratch-off tickets and growth in the number of lottery retailers also contributed to the spike.