GREAT FALLS- The Montana Lottery not only plays an important role in the lives of Montanans, but also helps to support our local economy.

However, when it comes to the financial side of the Montana State Lottery, the money goes into a few different places.

The first is a new program for students that allows them to receive scholarships for STEM related studies.

For the fiscal year of 2020, the Montana State Lottery will transfer $500,000 to the STEM scholarship program.

This amount will continue to grow every year until 2024 when the account reaches $2.25 million.

The second portion of the money goes into the state's general fund.

The Montana State Lottery has raked in $270 million for the state of Montana since 1987 when the lottery started.

However, when it comes to exactly where the money ends up, things get a little more complicated. 

“It's actually a little bit like the Missouri River, Montana tax money flows too. And lawmakers determine how, you know, what they state's priority's are every 2 years and that's where the money goes,” explains Jennifer McKee, the Communications Manager at Montana Lottery.

Overall, just under $600 million has been paid to winners, which is roughly $50,000 every single day.

Small businesses also take a cut of the money, receiving a small commission every year.

So far, small businesses across Montana have been paid $68 million since 1987, with just over $3 million last year alone.

When it comes to operating costs, the Montana State Lottery tries to keep spending to a minimum, with a yearly average of $4 million in expenses and roughly 30 employees.

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