How playing the $1.1 billion Mega Millions Jackpot benefits Kentucky students

How playing the $1.1 billion Mega Millions Jackpot benefits Kentucky students
Published: Jan. 10, 2023 at 10:47 PM EST
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - The winning numbers were just drawn for the $1.1 billion jackpot. But playing the lottery in Kentucky doesn’t just give you a shot at the riches; it also benefits Kentucky students and scholarships.

Shelbie Studer is one of the millions of Americans taking their shot to be a billionaire... before taxes, of course.

“Well, this has happened a couple of times recently, so I wonder if this is going to become the new norm,” said Studer. “If every couple of months it’s gonna jump up to a billion dollars, everyone is gonna be scrambling to get tickets.”

The odds of winning? One in 302 million.

According to, if you win in Kentucky and take the cash option, you’d walk away with over $337 million.

“I would take care of my family, others and make sure I give to church,” said Kentucky resident Cheryl Cobb.

What Cobb doesn’t realize is, she’s already given back simply by playing the lottery.

“Since 1999, we’ve provided over $4.4 billion in scholarships and grants, and of course, that number is going up a little bit with this jackpot,” Kentucky Lottery President Mary Harville.

The Kentucky Lottery says the KEES scholarship, among other programs, is funded through the lottery.

But even with the good from giving Kentucky students a chance at higher education, lottery officials say they hear from players who want to pay it forward should they win.

“What I’ve been touched by hearing is almost to a person, I hear that they want to do things with the funds that would help others,” said Harville. “I didn’t really hear anyone say, ‘I want to buy a boat or a new car.’ I heard, ‘I want to help people who are in the nursing homes, my elderly parents, I want to put my kids through college.’ It was all about helping other people, which I thought was really great to hear.”

There has never been a Mega Millions Jackpot winner in Kentucky.