– The Pennsylvania Lottery today marked the 45th
anniversary of its very first game, which went on sale March 7, 1972. Since then, the Lottery has paid nearly $45 billion in prizes and generated approximately $27 billion to benefit older Pennsylvanians.
“The Pennsylvania Lottery is proud of the role it has played in helping older Pennsylvanians to lead healthier lives over the past four and a half decades,” said Executive Director Drew Svitko. “Without the support of Lottery players, none of this would have been possible.”
The Pennsylvania Lottery’s first game was a 50-cent ticket with weekly drawings, the first of which was held on March 15, 1972. The game offered a $50,000 top prize and periodic drawings for $1 million prizes. The first $1 game, Lucky 7, went on sale in November of that year and also featured a weekly drawing.
The Lottery’s first televised Millionaire Drawing was conducted in March 1975. The first scratch-off game (“Instant Lottery”) was introduced two months later. Nightly televised drawing shows came along on March 1, 1977, with the debut of The Daily Number, the first of the Lottery’s numbers games. Today, the game is named PICK 3.
“From humble beginnings, the Pennsylvania Lottery has grown to offer a wide variety of in-state and multi-state draw games, scratch-off instant games, and we recently introduced Fast Play games,” Svitko added. “In our last fiscal year, we achieved record sales of over $4.13 billion, from which we generated more than $1.12 billion to benefit older Pennsylvanians and paid more than $2.63 billion in prizes – which were also new records.”
When the Pennsylvania Lottery first launched, players had to read a newspaper to find that week’s winning numbers. Today, players can immediately learn if their ticket is a winner by using the ticket checker feature on the Lottery’s official mobile app. They can also scan their tickets using a scanners found at Lottery retailers, check drawing results listed at palottery.com (launched in 1998) and watch the nightly televised drawing show.
Today, Pennsylvania Lottery games are sold through a statewide network of nearly 9,200 retail locations. In addition to at-counter sales, may stores also offer touch-screen, self-service vending terminals or instant ticket vending machines. The Pennsylvania Lottery launched self-service instant game sales in 1993. In 2004, the Pennsylvania Lottery became the first state to introduce self-service units that sell both instant and terminal-based games.
“I want to thank our dedicated retailer partners for contributing, every day, to the Lottery’s continuing success,” Svitko said. “A number of retailers have been with us since the very first day of sales – and they’ve grown right along with us.”
The Lottery originally was created to support property tax relief for older homeowners. Today, proceeds are directed to five main program areas: property tax and rent rebates, transportation, care services, prescription assistance, and a variety of local services provided through Area Agencies on Aging across the state. These benefit programs help to make a significant improvement in the quality of life for older adults who receive services.
“Some of the people who were among our first 18-year-old players in 1972 may now be eligible to enjoy Lottery-funded benefit programs,” Svitko said. “We’re proud to be a Keystone state institution that has served generations of Pennsylvanians.”
Review a full timeline of Lottery historical highlights online at our History
page at palottery.com.
Website visitors can also find full details on games, chances of winning, drawing results and how to claim a prize.
The Pennsylvania Lottery remains the only state lottery to direct all proceeds to programs
that benefit older residents. Since ticket sales began in 1972, it has contributed nearly $27 billion to fund property tax and rent rebates, transportation, care services, prescription assistance, and local services including senior centers and meals.
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