UNITED STATES—Lottery tickets continue to be one of the most popular ways of trying to win a fortune, and the latest sales figures in California reveal that a massive total of over $8.4 billion of tickets were sold in 2021. Why do so many people here buy tickets, and what are the different draws and prizes that they take part in?

The Full Details of the Numbers

With sales of over $8.4 billion, California was the third-placed state in terms of lottery ticket volume in 2021. Florida led the way with more than $9 billion of tickets sold across the year. The Sunshine State was followed by New York, where they sold close to $8.6 billion of lottery tickets in the same period.

After California, came Texas, Georgia, and Massachusetts. Of the states where lottery tickets can be legally sold, the final places on the list are taken by Montana, Wyoming, and North Dakota.

This made 2021 the best year to date for lottery ticket sales in California. Before last year, 2018-19 had set the previous record with total sales of close to $7.4 billion. So 2021 was the first time that the state has broken the $8 billion mark in the 37 years that the State Lottery has been running.

The California State Lottery has several games played each week. For example, the Powerball is carried out every Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday at 7 pm. Mega Millions is played on Tuesdays and Fridays at 7.45 pm. Superlotto Plus is another popular game, played on Wednesdays and Saturdays at 7.45 pm. Fantasy 5 is played every day at 6.30 pm too.

You can read more here, in this guide to CA lotto results and how the games work. They explain that the Draw Game is the type that most of us are familiar with, as this is where the player picks a series of numbers and hopes that they match the numbers that get drawn out. The Powerball draws have bigger prizes because they’re nationwide.

Of that total we looked at earlier, $6.4 billion came from the sale of the hugely popular scratch cards, where the player scrapes off the boxes or images to find out if they win an instant prize. The authorities also revealed that the boom in lottery sales led to $1.86 billion getting pumped into the state’s public school districts in the shape of supplemental funding.

Why Did So Many People Buy Lottery Tickets in 2021?

Why are lotteries so popular in this state? One of the reasons is that it’s one of the relatively few ways of legally gambling in California. Unlike states like New York and Nevada, as well as Canada, there are no commercial casinos or sportsbooks yet allowed here. Instead, bettors can choose from options such as pari-mutuel wagering, horse racing, and a few Native American-run casinos.

The State Lottery is one of the most attractive ways of gambling here, with large prizes on offer for every draw. If you click here, you’ll see the upcoming Powerball draw has a value of $258 million, while the next Superlotto Plus is for $19 million. It’s easy to see why so many people are attracted to buying tickets for these draws.

The lottery agency in California also believes that there was a large level of pent-up demand in 2021, due to the fact that 2020 saw fewer games played and a lack of new games being introduced to the market.

Nicholas Buchen holds the title of California Lottery Chief Financial Officer, and he pointed out that they were able to “resolve distribution challenges” that had led to lower sales figures the year before.

Big Winners in California

Stories of big wins in the state help to encourage more players to buy tickets, so the recent news about Kristine Wellenstein could boost the figures for the rest of 2022. This California resident bought a ticket in January at the Chevron gas station in Woodland Hills for the nationwide Mega Millions draw.

The prize was rolled over 27 times, meaning that it had built up to $426 million by the time that Kristine won it. She was the only person in the country to match all six of the winning numbers, and she chose to take the full amount as a lump sum – check out more here. The run of rollovers produced sales of over $110 million in California, with lottery officials confirming that meant about $40 million for the state’s public schools.

It seems certain that the different lottery draws will remain popular in California in the future, as buying a ticket has now become a routine for many people.