— Today the Pennsylvania Lottery is celebrating the 47th anniversary of its first drawing, which took place on March 15, 1972. Since then, the Lottery has paid more than $50 billion in prizes and generated more than $29 billion to benefit older Pennsylvanians.
“The Pennsylvania Lottery is proud to have spent the last 47 years playing a vital role in helping generate funds for our older residents,” said Lottery Executive Director Drew Svitko. “We are hard at work to ensure that the Lottery continues to fund the essential senior programs that help older Pennsylvanians lead healthier lives.”
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.
The Lottery has come a long way since its debut. Last fiscal year the Lottery sold a record of more than $4.2 billion in games, from which it paid a record of more than $2.7 billion in prizes. It also generated more than $1 billion to benefit older Pennsylvanians for the seventh consecutive year, and it’s on track to do so again this fiscal year.
“We’re grateful for the support of our players, business partners and the entire Lottery team,” said Svitko, who also noted the Lottery has paid approximately $4.7 billion in retailer commissions in its history. “We’re working every day to build a strong foundation for the future and develop new, innovative products that will help us remain competitive in a rapidly-changing business environment.”
The Lottery took a big step forward last year with the launch of PA iLottery
, online games that offer players the chance to play from a computer, tablet or mobile device. More than 98,000 unique players have registered for iLottery since its launch last May.
The Lottery also continues to recruit retailers to offer Keno
, a popular draw game, and Xpress Sports
, fast-paced virtual games that simulate a sporting event. Both games were launched last year.
Traditional draw games, scratch-offs and Fast Play games also continue to be the core of the Lottery’s business at its more than 9,600 retail locations throughout Pennsylvania.
“Lottery games sold at retail remain the foundation of our business,” Svitko added. “But we are doing everything we can to launch new products that will appeal to our players and help us fulfill our mission to responsibly generate funds for older Pennsylvanians.”
Find a full timeline of Lottery highlights online at our History
page at palottery.com. The website offers details on dozens of games, chances of winning, winning numbers, 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 more than $29 billion to fund property tax and rent rebates, transportation, care services, prescription assistance, and local services including senior centers and meals.
Players must be 18 or older. Do not give lottery games to children. Please play responsibly
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