2011-01-16 13:11:23.847

Missouri Lottery Celebrates 25th Anniversary

Story Photo video icon After a quarter of a century in operation, the Missouri Lottery has BILLIONS of reasons to celebrate.  Twenty-five years ago on Jan. 20, 1986, the first Missouri Lottery ticket, a Scratchers ticket called "Jackpot ’86," went on sale.  Since that time, the Missouri Lottery has sold more than $12.9 billion in tickets, provided more than $3.8 billion to the state and public education, awarded more than $7.6 billion to players as prizes and provided more than $800 million to businesses that sell Lottery tickets.

“The Missouri Lottery has grown into a billion-dollar business that raises millions of dollars annually for public education programs,” said May Scheve Reardon, executive director of the Missouri Lottery.  “During the past 25 years, the Lottery has generated more than $1.3 billion for the Foundation Program, more than $154 million for A+ scholarships and more than $660 million for the University of Missouri system, just to name a few.”

To celebrate the 25-year milestone, the Lottery has rolled out a new logo, is holding a news conference at the Capitol on Jan. 18, is hosting a mall tour during the next few weeks and is unveiling two anniversary-themed Scratchers games, “Missouri Lottery’s 25th Anniversary Cruise” and “Missouri Lottery’s Silver Anniversary.” 

Reardon noted that the Lottery’s mission has always been to raise money for the state and public education.  When the Missouri Lottery began in 1986, all proceeds went to the state’s General Revenue Fund.  In 1992, Missouri voters approved an amendment to direct all Lottery proceeds to the Lottery Proceeds Fund to solely benefit public education.

“We can’t thank the Missouri Lottery players, retailers, employees and supporters enough,” Reardon said.  “The Lottery has been a vital source of funding for public education, and without the billions it has generated, the state would have had to either raise taxes or cut services.  In addition, the Lottery has created jobs and provided income not only for the people who work at the Lottery, but also for the retailers who sell our tickets and the many vendors involved.”

In addition to changes in directing the proceeds, there have been many other changes during the past 25 years, including increases in the number and types of games offered, an increase in prize payouts and price points and changes in the way the Lottery does business. 

One huge improvement is the percentage of sales used to run the Lottery, which has dropped from 14 percent to 3.8 percent.

 “We are really proud to say we’re a self-sufficient state agency with operating costs below 4 percent,” Reardon said.  “Not many businesses can say that.”

Looking back, Reardon said one of the first changes the Lottery made in the early days was getting the restrictions removed on prize payouts.  The maximum prize payout when the Lottery began was 45 percent.  Now, the Lottery returns an average of 69 percent of sales as prizes.

Another huge improvement was allowing the redemption of Scratchers tickets at any Missouri Lottery retail location.  This change was made in June of 1994.

In addition to changes in proceeds and retailer operations, many changes have been made to benefit the players, such as a cash option on jackpot prizes, more drawings, easier ways to buy tickets and enter promotions, a longer time to buy tickets and a multitude of player services enabled by the Lottery’s website, Molottery.com. 

"We plan to continue the phenomenal success in raising funds for education and hope to make the next 25 years even bigger and better," said Reardon. 

Missouri Lottery Quick Facts (through FY10)

  • More than $12.9 billion in ticket sales;
  • More than $3.8 billion in proceeds to the state, including public education (to date);
  • More than $7.6 billion in prizes paid to players;
  • More than $800 million to retailers in commissions and incentives;
  • 307 tickets sold worth $1 million to $258.5 million.

Missouri Lottery Historical Comparison

Then - 1986


Now - 2011

There was only one instant game (at any one time) and one Numbers Game (Missouri Lotto).   There are now seven Numbers Games, approximately 45 Scratchers tickets per year (several sold simultaneously - more than 800 introduced to date).
Players had to redeem Scratchers at the location where purchased.   Players can redeem Scratchers at any Missouri Lottery retailer.
Scratchers games cost $1.   Scratchers games cost $1, $2, $3, $5, $10 and $20.
Players could only buy Scratchers tickets at retail counter.   Players can buy Scratchers tickets from retail counter or from a vending machine.
Players had to have retailer check tickets at terminal.   Players can check tickets themselves at Check-A-Ticket devices.
All proceeds went to the state’s General Revenue Fund.  Fiscal year 1987 transfer was more than $80 million.   All proceeds go to Missouri’s public education.  Fiscal year 2010 transfer was more than $255 million.
Administrative costs were 14 percent of sales.   Administrative costs are 3.8 percent of sales.
Sales were $206.9 million annually.   Sales are $971.8 million annually.
Prizes were restricted to 45 percent of sales.   There are no restrictions; prize payouts average 69 percent of sales.
One daily game, one daily draw.   Three daily games, two drawn twice a day.
Lottery numbers were drawn with ball machines.   Lottery numbers are drawn by computer.
Jackpots went as high as $5.2 million.   Jackpots reach as high as $380 million.
Jackpots paid only in annuitized prizes.   Jackpot winners can receive their prize as an annuity or as one cash payment.
Winners had 365 days to claim prizes.   Winners have 180 days to claim prizes.
Players received information from retailers and Lottery offices.   Players can now obtain extensive information from the Lottery’s website in addition to retail locations and Lottery offices.
Players entered second-chance drawings at retail locations, through the mail and at Lottery offices.   Players can enter second-chance drawings on-line, saving players thousands of dollars in time and postage, in addition to entering at retail locations, through the mail and at Lottery offices.
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