Over the holidays I discovered the magical fun that is the Idaho Lottery. As a girl from Vegas I grew up knowing I lived in a gamblin' town. And once I hit 21...I didn't hit the slot machines or the tables. I'd known too many people who spiraled down gambling addiction and I was a bit scared to ever partake. I finally gave in a few years later to a bright shiny Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory slot machine. And nothing tragic happened. Just a bit of fun during a night out here and there.

Now living in Meridian, the closest casino is about two hours away. I don't miss gambling so much as to go out town to play. Perhaps I'll make a girls trip out of it one day. But I did learn Idaho has a lottery, something Nevada doesn't. But that wasn't appealing until I saw there were scratch games! Then I was all in. Cheapy little games that even if you lose, it was still fun to play and you didn't lose your life savings. My personal favorites are anything BINGO related.

There's even an Idaho Lottery app that gives you second chances on losing tickets, shows you which games have what odds and what prizes are left, and bonus ways to win prizes. If you're looking for an Idaho Lottery retailer the app will show you where. It's a nifty little supplement.

But the best part is the good it does for the community. Since 1988, Idaho Lottery has been supporting Idaho Public Schools and the Permanent Building Fund. And in 2015 alone over $45 million was distributed to support both. That means not only am I playing amusing little games and winning a little cash, but I'm also partially responsible for the development of this great state--as is anyone else who plays.

Of course it is important to play responsibly and Idaho Lottery encourages all players to spend what they can afford and seek help for gambling addiction if necessary. The National Council on Problem Gambling (1-800-522-4700) and Idaho Careline (1-800-926-2588) can assist.

Now I haven't won the big bucks yet, but I'm an optimist! I'm sure one of these days I'll snag $500 and treat myself to a night on the town. That's right, I'm not even gunning for the really big prizes... Does that help my odds?


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