California Lottery officials announced Tuesday that the Sacramento Superior Court ruled that California's participation in the multi-state Mega Millions game is legal and that the California Lottery is authorized to operate the game in the state.
The court further stated that the Lottery Commission is lawfully operating and the Mega Millions' joint operation in California does not require specific legislative approval.
The ruling is a crushing blow to a small but vocal anti-lottery group, as well as to California Democrats, who helped to launch the lawsuit in order to disrupt the workings of the Schwarzenegger administration. The Republican Governor pushed California's participation in Mega Millions as a way to help lift the state from financial hardship.
"We're very pleased with the ruling to keep Mega Millions in California," said Joan Borucki, Acting Director of the California Lottery. "Mega Millions will continue to be sold, prizes will be paid and proceeds will benefit public schools".
While the court acknowledged that a remote conflict may exist regarding different jackpot claim periods among partner states, the court has given the Lottery a year to address this issue.
Californians have contributed more than $151 million to public schools from Mega Millions sales since it began on June 22, 2005. The popularity of Mega Millions has continued to grow and sales trends reflect this fact. Sales for the game have been growing since November of 2005 when a group of Kaiser employees won a $315 million Mega Millions jackpot.
Overall Lottery sales for the current fiscal year to date are $2.97 billion (unaudited through April 30, 2006) representing a $162 million increase over last year's revenues for the same period. As a result, for the sixth consecutive year, the California Lottery will transfer more than $1 billion in supplemental funding to California's public schools.