By Robin Clutters

DENVER (CBS4)– Coloradans watched as the Powerball and Mega Millions jackpots broke records last month. Together, the jackpots were worth a total of $1.7 billion. From Jan. 2 to 22 (when the Mega Millions was won), the Colorado Lottery sold $33,624,612 worth of Powerball and Mega Millions tickets.

That’s a 526% increase from the same time last year. On CBSN Denver, we talked to the director of the Colorado Lottery, Tom Seaver.

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“These jackpots are a really big deal because they help a number of different audiences,” says Seaver. “It’s really exciting for our players. It’s also exciting for our beneficiaries because all of them received over $13 million in additional revenue. Finally, it’s good for our retailers, because they receive commissions on the tickets they sell, and they received over $2 million in additional commission.”

(credit: CBS)

A total of $13,113,599 from ticket sales will go directly to Lottery beneficiaries. Of that, Great Outdoors Colorado receives half ($6,556,800), the Conservation Trust Fund gets 40% ($5,245,440), and Colorado Parks and Wildlife receives 10% (1,311,359). Once Great Outdoors Colorado reaches its cap of funding from the lottery, remaining funds go to Building Excellent Schools Today.

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Businesses that sell the tickets are big winners too.

“We have about 3,000 retailers around Colorado that sell lottery tickets and they can get a commission when they sell a lottery ticket. They also can get additional commission when they pay out prizes. So, there are a couple of ways that being a lottery retailer is good for their business.”

(credit: iStock/Getty Images)

Colorado has not had a big Mega Millions winner since its inception, but it has had three Powerball jackpot winners. Someone in Clifton won $133 million in 2017, a winner in Rifle got $90 million in 2014, and a winning ticket sold in Westminster got the winner $20 million back in 2007.

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“It’s just tremendously good for Colorado when we have these big jackpots. It’s also important. Remember though, we have our own in state game: Colorado Lotto Plus. The jackpot is $3.4 billion for tomorrow night. And while that’s not as exciting as $700 million, it still could make a big difference in somebody’s life.”

Robin Clutters