Ten Years of Lucky Winners, Major Milestones and Giving Back
As we count down the days until we ring in 2020 and kick off a new decade, the Illinois Lottery takes a look back at highlights from the past 10 years. From big wins and historic jackpots to new games and modernized playing experiences, check out 10 Lottery takeaways from the 2010s:
2010 – Powerball Comes to Illinois
In January 2010, the Illinois Lottery added Powerball to its selection of draw-based lottery games, giving players two more weekly chances to win sizeable jackpots.
2011 – Illinois Lottery Offers Retailers More
Illinois Lottery retailers started earning an additional 1 percent cashing bonus for paying out prizes of up to $600. In addition to the cashing bonus, retailers also receive a 5 percent selling commission and a 1 percent bonus for selling a winning ticket of $1,000 or more. In Fiscal Year 2019, Illinois retailers earned $165 million in commissions and bonuses.
2012 – Crosstown Classic Scratch-Off Style
In May 2012, the Illinois Lottery launched a series of Major League Baseball instant tickets, featuring the Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox and St. Louis Cardinals. The $2 games offered top prizes of $25,000 and 2013 MLB season tickets to the respective ballclubs.
2013 – Illinois Lottery Breaks $18 Billion Mark for Contributions
The Lottery passed a significant milestone with $18 billion in total contributions to the Illinois Common School Fund, the Capital Projects Fund and other specialty causes in Illinois. To date, the Illinois Lottery has contributed more than $21 billion (since 1985) to the state’s Common School Fund.
2014 – Illinois Makes History as the First State Lottery to Sell Tickets Via Mobile App
Two years after becoming the first state lottery to sell tickets online, the Illinois Lottery became the first state lottery to sell tickets through a mobile app. In January 2014, players were able to buy Lotto, Mega Millions and Powerball tickets on the app, as well as check winning numbers and find retailers. Today, players can buy tickets for all of the draw-based games the Illinois Lottery offers.
2015 – Illinois Lottery Ticket Supports Special Olympics
In February 2015, the Illinois Lottery launched its first of three new specialty instant tickets in the decade with the introduction of a ticket to benefit the Special Olympics. The Lottery also launched games to benefit police memorials (May 2019) and homelessness prevention (September 2019) in the decade, bringing the total number of specialty cause tickets to seven. To date, the Illinois Lottery has raised more than $53 million for these causes.
2016 – Powerball Sets Record for Largest U.S. Jackpot
In January 2016, three winning tickets were sold for the U.S.-record $1.586 billion Powerball jackpot. During the draw run, Illinois had two $1 million winners, six $100,000 winners, 45 winners of $50,000 and more than 893,000 other winners of smaller Powerball prizes.
2017 – Largest Winner in Illinois Lottery History Nets $393M Prize
A Palos Heights woman won the largest jackpot in Illinois history when she won a $393 million Mega Millions jackpot in August 2017.
2018 – Mega Millions Madness Takes Hold of Illinois
In October 2018, Mega Millions madness hit, and the Illinois Lottery broke records with more than $348 million in sales that month. Illinois players bought more than 27 million Mega Millions tickets as the jackpot rocketed to $1.537 billion. It was the second-largest jackpot in U.S. lottery history.
2019 – Illinois Lottery Celebrates its 45th Birthday
The Illinois Lottery rang in its 45th birthday with a celebration of the special causes it supports during Lottery Week in July. Across social media, the Lottery shared the stories of real Illinoisans who have benefited from specialty instant tickets and announced that Illinois received a record $731 million contribution for public education funding from Fiscal Year 2019 Lottery sales.
For more history about the Illinois Lottery, visit illinoislottery.com/illinois-lottery/lottery-history.
About the Illinois Lottery:
Founded in 1974, the Illinois Lottery has contributed over $21 billion (since 1985) to the state’s Common School Fund to assist K-12 public schools, as well as hundreds of millions of dollars to the Capital Projects Fund and to special causes like homelessness prevention, Illinois Veterans services, the fight against breast cancer, MS research, Special Olympics, police memorials and assistance for people living with HIV/AIDS. Players must be at least 18 years old. In addition to playing in-store, the Illinois Lottery offers online and mobile play for all draw-based Illinois Lottery games at illinoislottery.com.