Illinois, the fifth most populous state in the US, sits in the Mid-West of the country in the Great Lakes region of North America. In 1865 it became the first state to ratify the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, abolishing slavery. The Illinois Lottery began in 1974 with Ralph Batch at the helm, after legislation passed it in 1973.
The first Illinois lottery tickets went on sale on 30th July 1974 and by 31st December that year 100,000,000 tickets had been sold. The first instant games were introduced on 21st October 1975.
Games currently played in Illinois are: Illinois Mega Millions, Illinois Powerball, Illinois Lotto, LuckyDay Lotto Midday, Pick 4 Midday, Midday 4 Fireball, Pick 3 Midday, Midday 3 Fireball, My 3 Midday, LuckyDay Lotto Evening, Pick 4 Evening, Evening 4 Fireball, Pick 3 Evening, Evening 3 Fireball, My 3 Evening, Hit or Miss Morning, Hit or Miss Midday, Hit or Miss Drive and Hit or Miss Evening.
Illinois lottery Mega Millions
The nine member states of the Big Game Group announced the launch of Mega Millions in 2002. Tickets were sold exclusively for the Illinois Mega Millions as well as Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Virginia and the Washington Mega Millions lotto. The first Mega Millions draw produced one winner who was in Illinois. Samuel and Frances Rice and their daughter, Caroline Southall of Chicago were presented with the cheque for $28 million at a press conference on 25th June 2002.
Pick 3, which was originally known as The Daily Game, was launched on 19th February 1980. It began as a draw game that was held on Monday to Saturday evenings, and on 20th March 1983 Sunday drawings of Pick 3 began too. Ten years later on 20th December 1993, it increased to 13 draws weekly with the addition of midday draws. Pick 3 draws three sets of balls numbered 0 to 9 from 000 to 999. Prices, options and pay-outs vary.
Pick 4, a similar game to Pick 3, began on 16th February 1982 with draws held on Tuesday and Friday evenings. On 27th August 1984 draws increased to six nights a week with the addition of Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday draws. Sunday drawings were added on 9th March 1985. As with the expansion of Pick 3 to daily drawings, on 20th December 1993 Pick 4 increased to 13 draws weekly with midday games. The game draws four sets of ten balls numbered 0 to 9 and again, prices, options and pay-outs vary.
Fireball is an additional feature to the Play 3 and Play 4 games and was introduced on 1st September 2013. Fireball gives the player an extra number drawn and gives more chances to win a prize.
My3 was introduced on 9th September 2012 with draws held daily at 10:30am and 6:30pm. In this version, players pick three favourite numbers and choose the draw time. Players need to match all three numbers in exact order to win $200 and smaller cash prizes can be won depending on the order in which the numbers are drawn.
Illinois Lotto began on 19th February 1983. Held on Saturdays, six from 40 numbered balls were drawn. On 19th May 1984, it became a six from 44 game and on 15th January 1986 Wednesday draws were added. On 7th May 1988 the six numbers could be drawn from 54 but was scaled back down to 48 on 15th January. The matrix changed yet again to six from 52 on 14th April 1999 and added a fourth prize for matching three numbers. Today in Illinois Lotto, players pay $1 and pick 6 numbers from a field of 52 (or 6 random numbers as a "quick pick" or lucky dip). Players matching all 6 numbers split the jackpot that starts at $2,000,000. Players matching 5 numbers win a variable amount that averages $2,000, and players matching 4 win an average $50. Illinois Lotto drawings take place on Monday, Thursday and Saturday.
In November 2012 Illinois Lottery introduced an add-on to the Illinois Lotto called Lotto Extra Shot which costs $2. A Lotto Extra Shot adds a "quick picked" number from 1 to 25 for each play. Matching the Extra Shot number increases the pay-out. Players who match the Extra Shot and either 5, 4, 3, or 2 of the 6 numbers of the regular field receive a pay-out 25 times more than without. Matching the Extra Shot when also matching all 6 regular numbers does not increase the jackpot pay-out.
In Lucky Day Lotto, a player pays $1 and picks 5 numbers from a field of 39 (or 5 random numbers as a "quick pick" or lucky dip). Players who match all 5 numbers split a jackpot that begins at $100,000. Players matching 4 out of 5 numbers win $100, players matching 3 out of 5 numbers win $10 and players matching 2 out of 5 numbers win $1. Drawings for Lucky Day Lotto take place twice a day, seven days a week.
Lucky Day Lotto began on 1st June 1988 when the Illinois Lottery created a game called "Cash 5". On 15th May 1989 the game's name was changed to "Little Lotto". In 2012, Little Lotto was renamed Lucky Day Lotto.
Illinois Lottery also offers a variety of scratch card games in varying amounts and themes. The Chicago and St. Louis area sports teams also have tie-ins with the Illinois Lottery.
On 13th May 1997 the Illinois Lottery introduced the first $3 instant game called "Special Edition Win For Life". This game featured nine lifetime prizes of $1,000, $2,000 or $5,000 a week for life.
A homeless man known only as Dennis won $50,000 off of a $1 scratch card ticket from the Illinois State Lottery. All he wanted was to buy a trailer to live in as an upgrade to his then tent.
On the evening of 12th September 2000, Alex Snelius, stopped off at the Burbank Food and Liquor store, his local shop, where he placed $5 four times a week on different lottery games. This time however he was a winner, and a week later, lottery officials presented him with an oversized cheque for $64 million. At the time it was the Illinois Lottery’s second largest pay-out for a single ticket holder. Snelius, a semi-retired truck mechanic and Lithuanian immigrant whose 70 years have been mostly hard work, knew his life would change. “But you’re not blessed—you’re cursed” he later said. “Money is not happiness—it’s a curse: People don’t leave you alone; charities come from every direction you can think of; the government taxes the heck out of you. I don’t like it.” A devout Roman Catholic who attends Mass weekly, Snelius later began the process of liquidating his assets. Whatever money is left over, he said, would go to help his family, particularly his grandchildren, and to aid various charities. “What do I need it for?” asked Snelius. “I can’t take it with me.” He told reporters that his huge wealth tore apart his family. Court records confirmed that Snelius’s sons both had lengthy criminal records dating from both before and after their father’s win that included possessing illegal drugs, fraud, theft and domestic battery. “I intend to give as much as I can until I die” said their father.
Merle and Patricia Butler bought three tickets and won $218million in the record Mega Millionsdraw on 30th March 2012. “She giggled for about four hours, I think,” Mr Butler said of his wife’s reaction to winning. The Butlers, both retired analysts, had lived all their lives in Red Bud, Illinois, a small town southeast of St. Louis, Missouri. The Motomart store where they bought the ticket was awarded a $500,000 bonus from the Illinois Lottery and the owners gave the nine employees $50,000 of that to share.
There were two other two winning tickets for the record jackpot that day which was the largest lottery prize ever at the time. They were in Kansas and Maryland. They chose to remain anonymous, though the Maryland winners were identified by the Maryland Lottery as three public school employees. Unlike in some states, Illinois requires the winner's identity to be revealed. At the time, Butler’s delay in claiming his enormous prize focused world-wide attention on Illinois and was due to him assembling a team of legal and financial advisors ahead of claiming. The winning numbers for the draw were 2, 4, 23, 38 and 46 and the Mega Ball was 23.
Over a spread of three weeks, Christopher Kaelin, a 31-year-old "occasional lottery player," won a total of $276,000 from the same Illinois Lotto crossword instant ticket game. "My fiancé and I were so thrilled that I won $25,000, we went out for dinner to celebrate. When we stopped at a gas station afterward, I decided to buy another crossword instant ticket and won $1,000." Kaelin then went back a week later to the same newsstand in downtown Chicago where he had purchased the first winning ticket, bought another, and went back to work. He thought that he’d won $25,000 but on his way to claim the prize, Kaelin realised he had misread his latest winning ticket. “I was in the elevator looking at my ticket and noticed I had missed the tenth word," Kaelin said. His prize wasn't $25,000; it was worth $250,000!
On 26nd August 1989 The Madigan Partnership won the $42 million Grand Prize in the Illinois Lotto, which at the time was the largest Lottery prize awarded to a single ticket in Lottery history. William and Kathleen Madigan who formed the Partnership to claim the prize, received 20 annual payments of $2.1 million, according to officials. The White Hen Pantry in suburban Oak Lawn, Chicago received $420,000, 1% of the winnings, as their retailer bonus.
Petros Marinakos was a recent winner who won $300,000 in the Lucky Day Lotto on 8th April 2014. Marinakos, born and raised in Chicago by his immigrant parents, who are originally from Greece, bought his ticket at a Lincolnwood petrol station. The numbers on his Quick Pick (lucky dip) ticket were 8, 15, 28, 38 and 39.
In 2012 the Illinois Lottery refused to pay the $118 million prize won by 12 workers at the Pita Pan Bakery, citing lawsuits filed by five other employees claiming that they were also entitled to a share of the jackpot. A group of employees at the bakery routinely pool money to buy lottery tickets, and that group held the winning ticket for the prize from the record-setting Mega Millions draw on 4th May 2012.
The group officially came forward to try to claim the prize, giving a list of 12 employees who they say should have been included. However, the list did not include the names of five other employees who already had filed lawsuits in Cook County Circuit Court, which Illinois Lottery officials gave as their reason for not paying out the prize. Lottery officials said the prize had been "claimed," but that the names wouldn’t be released until the lawsuit was resolved. The lawsuit had sought a court order preventing the state of Illinois from paying the prize until the lawsuits were resolved. The result of all this was that the prize might not be paid out for years, unless they come to a settlement.
25% in Federal tax is withheld from prizes over $5,000, and a 5% Illinois state tax is levied on prizes of $1,000 or more. Actual tax liability can vary depending on the individual’s filing status.
Anyone 18 years or older can play Illinois Lottery games. To play online, players must also be a resident of Illinois and be physically located in the state of Illinois at time of purchase. To assure other players that lottery prizes are actually paid, the Illinois Lottery publishes the name, home city and amount won. Multi-million dollar winners must also participate in a single news conference.
61% of Illinois Lottery ticket sales go towards prizes. 28% goes to the various good causes described above, 6% in retailer commissions and 5% in other expenses.
If you win $600 or less and played online, winnings will be deposited directly into your online account. If the ticket was bought from a retailer, winnings can be collected directly from any Lottery retailer.
For prizes over $600 but less than $1 million:
Players must fill out a claim form when validating the ticket at any Illinois Lottery retailer and post it in. Cheques, less any taxes, are sent out in 4 to 6 weeks.
Players can also visit one of the "Prize Centres" to receive winnings up to $25,000 immediately (less any taxes). For prizes over $25,000, the Prize Centres can post a claim form out.
For prizes of $1 million or more players are advised to call the Lottery's Claims Office.
The Illinois Lottery’s first year sales topped $129 million, although sales subsequently faltered after the novelty wore off. This prompted some to call for an end to it but in 1980 the first terminal game, called Pick 3, was introduced, breathing new life into the Illinois Lottery. Sales of $164 million were recorded during its first full year of operation.
Profits from the Illinois Lottery initially went to the State's General Revenue Fund until legislation was passed in 1985 earmarking profits for the Common School Fund, which is still the Lottery's main benefactor. Specialty instant games were launched in 2006 which benefited particular individual causes like Illinois Veterans, breast cancer research, MS research and help for people with HIV-Aids.
In 2010 another step forward was made, when the Illinois Lottery began contributing to the Capitol Projects Fund, which helps build and maintain roads and bridges.
In 1986 the Illinois Lottery separated from the Department of Revenue and became the Department of the Lottery. On 1st July 2011 Northstar Lottery Group officially took over lottery operations, although it still remains a state asset. Northstar Lottery Group became the private manager of the Illinois Lottery from 19th January 2014. The Lottery Control Board stays in place to oversee the Lottery Superintendent and Department of Lottery, and advises on such things as law and advertising.
Back in 1974 just 7,000 retailers were authorised to sell tickets. The Illinois Retail Merchants Association now reports over 23,000 retailers of all sizes, from small independents to national chains. On 21st August 2011 retailers begin earning a 1% cash bonus for paying out prizes of up to $600. This bonus was expected to provide retailers with about $10.5 million in extra compensation each year.
In January 2014, Illinois lottery ticket sales totalled $103,277,242.50 and in March this year it rose to $121,521,404. In March 2006, ticket sales grossed $96,721,500. When the Illinois Lottery became the first North American lottery to sell tickets over the internet in 2012, sales increased a massive 30%.
On 25th March 2012 the Illinois Lottery became the first North American lottery to sell tickets over the internet, after a Department of Justice ruling. Under the pilot program, sales are strictly limited to adults 18 and over who live in Illinois and use an Illinois-based computer to make their ticket purchase. Sales are currently just limited to two games: Illinois Lotto and Illinois Mega Millions. The Illinois Lottery invested over $80 million to bring state-of-the-art technology to their retailers for this to go ahead, and sales went on to increase a whopping 30% over the previous year.
The Illinois Lottery created the Millionaires Dinner (reunion) as a promotional opportunity in order to showcase winners of a million dollars or more.
As with other US state lotteries, the biggest earner after winners is education in the form of the Illinois Common School Fund. Since 1985, a new law required all lottery profits go to Illinois’ schools, which helps to finance education from kindergarten to high school public education.
Illinois’ lotteries also help to fund charities and good causes.
The Carolyn Adams Ticket for the Cure supports breast cancer research in Illinois. 100% of its net proceeds go towards awarding grants to private and public bodies in Illinois to fund breast cancer research, education and services for breast cancer sufferers. To date, the Carolyn Adams Ticket for the Cure has donated over $7.6 million for breast cancer research and grants since it began in 2006.
Red Ribbon Cash is an Illinois lottery game which supports HIV/AIDS awareness in Illinois. 100% of its net proceeds go to support HIV/AIDS education and prevention programs in the state. There is a grants process which is available for private and public groups in Illinois and since 2008, Red Ribbon Cash has contributed over $5.2 million to fight HIV/AIDS in Illinois.
Veterans Cash is another Illinois lottery game, this time supporting a wide range of services to Illinois veterans. These include disability benefits and housing assistance, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorders treatment, health care and insurance. Since 2006, Veterans Cash has contributed more than $10 million to Veterans organisations in Illinois. On 7th November 2012 Governor Pat Quinn and Lottery Superintendent Michael Jones launched a new $2 Veterans Cash instant game at Chicago Lighthouse for People Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired.
Another worthy cause funded by the Illinois Lottery is the MS Project which supports the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and its Greater Illinois Chapter. Funding is used for research initiatives to help develop and advance the techniques, understanding and ways most effective for maintaining mobility, function and strength in patients through preventative physical therapy and other treatments. Since 2008, MS Project has contributed over $4.9 million to fight multiple sclerosis in Illinois.