The Illinois Lottery was inaugurated on July 1, 1974. The Lottery released its first tickets immediately afterwards by distributing them at more than 7,000 retailers statewide. It has offered new games on a continuous basis and thus, by its 30th anniversary (2004), the Lottery launched a special $3 million “Second Chance Promotion”. This marked the biggest total prize offered in money for a second-chance promotion in the state of Illinois’ history. The promotion consisted of 20 weekly drawings for $100,000, and a Grand Prize of $1 million, an “Anniversary Party”, the launching of 7 even new instant games featuring the anniversary theme offering over $100 million in prizes.
Presently, the Illinois Department of Revenue is responsible for managing and operating the Lottery, and it runs under the direct supervision of Superintendent Ralph Batch. Illinois Lottery games include Lotto, Little Lotto, the Big Game, Pick 3, Pick 4 and a great variety of exciting instant games. All Illinois Lottery proceeds are returned to the state of Illinois, namely the Common School Fund to assist supporting actions and projects for K-12 public education within the state.
Illinois Lottery operates the following lottery games at this time:
• MEGA Millions
• Little Lotto
• Midday 3
• Midday 4
• Pick 3
• Pick 4
The Illinois Pick3 is launched in 1982, receiving beautiful response from the Lottery customers. Two years later, Pick4 and respectively Lotto were offered to the public for the first time. It took one year before Lotto gained its Quick Pick feature, by which the terminal randomly selects your numbers, and in 1985 Pick3/ Pick4 were the next to be upgraded with the same feature.
Lotto Subscription started at the beginning of 1986 followed by Illinois’s Little Lotto in 1995. During the same year, the largest Lotto prize to go to a single winner was awarded by The Illinois Lottery with a sum of $45 million; this record was followed by the largest North American Jackpot of $363 million in 2000. At the beginning of 2002, The Illinois Lottery has announced its 1000th Millionaire, who was a Lotto winner of $9million.
In 2004, the Mega Millions reaches a high of $294 million, satta matka won by Geraldine Williams of Lowell, Massachusetts. This is the highest single-winner payout in the history of Mega Millions/Big Game. During the same year, the Second-Annual Big Ticket (Boleto Gigante) promotion was launched, with two players winning expense-paid trips to the 2004 Latin Music Awards in Miami, Florida.
The Lottery ended Fiscal Year 2004 with the highest-ever sales totaling $1.7 billion, and Common School Fund transfers of $570 million.
The Lottery started its collaboration with the Sony Corporation and launched the instant ticket Sony Xtreme in 2004. This ticket offers the chance to instantly win Plasma TVs or up to $25,000.
In 2005, Illinois Lottery completed another record fiscal year as its highest-ever sales reached $1.84 billion, which allowed the Illinois Lottery to transfer a record amount of $614 million to the Common School Fund. Instant ticket sales had a record of $904 million.
Pick ‘n Play was launched in 2003, a new online game that combines both instant and online games. To play, customers selected one of more play cards (that look like instant games without a scratch area) and take them to the Lottery counter for purchase/activation; the Lottery clerk scans the play card, producing an online ticket that is used to play game against the play card.