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Lottery History


  • January 2 — Camelot Illinois replaces Northstar Lottery Group as the Illinois Lottery’s private manager, with the Lottery maintaining oversight and providing key input. The Illinois Lottery is required by law to use the services of a private manager to lead its sales, marketing, retail management and gaming system management efforts.
  • March 8 — The Illinois Lottery’s St. Patrick’s Day Millionaire Raffle returns. The St. Patrick’s Day Millionaire Raffle provides players a chance to win one of three (3) $1 million prizes, 250 $1,000 prizes and 9,000 $100 prizes. In all, 9,253 prizes were be won. 
  • March 12 — The Illinois Lottery, Illinois Lieutenant Governor Evelyn Sanguinetti, the Greater Illinois Chapter of the National MS Society and the Illinois Department of Public Health unveil the newest version of The MS Project instant game. Proceeds from the ticket help pay for research aimed at finding a cure for Multiple Sclerosis (MS). This is the 11th edition of The MS Project special cause instant game. The ticket costs $3 and has raised nearly $9 million since 2008. 
  • May 1 — For the first time ever, Illinois Lottery players have the chance to win up to $1 billion with the launch of the new $10 WILLY WONKA GOLDEN TICKET™. The ticket offers players the chance to win up to $500,000 instantly. Players also can enter non-winning tickets into promotional second-chance drawings for the opportunity to participate in the BILLION DOLLAR CHALLENGE™. 
  • June 8 — The Illinois Lottery and the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) help kick off Pride Month by launching the Red Ribbon Cash instant ticket and revealing the 11 agencies receiving 2018 grants to fund HIV/AIDS research, treatment and prevention programs across the state of Illinois. Since 2008, Red Ribbon Cash has raised more than $7.6 million to help fight HIV/AIDS in Illinois.
  • August 24 — Gov. Bruce Rauner signs Senate Bill 211, which allows a prize winner of $250,000 or more to remain anonymous upon making a written request at the time of the claim. The law does not prevent disclosure of a winner’s name and municipality of residence if requested under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).
  • October 5 — The newest version of the Carolyn Adams Ticket for the Cure goes on sale. The game is named after Carolyn Adams, the former Lottery Superintendent who lost her battle with breast cancer in 2007. The ticket has raised more than $12.5 million to support breast cancer research, awareness and education in Illinois.
  • November 19 — Illinois Lottery officials announce that sales for October 2018 were the highest monthly sales in the department’s history at $345,128,919, up 9.9 percent from the previous record set in January 2016. The record sales were the result of a Mega Millions jackpot that reached $1.5 billion before it was won Oct. 23 in South Carolina.
  • December 14 — The last prize of $1 million or more for 2018 is claimed, making the total 55 millionaires created in 2018.  It is the ninth consecutive year more than 50 Illinois Lottery players claimed prizes of $1 million or more. 



  • January 18—A group of 23 Jacksonville residents win a $1 million Powerball prize.  The group members, many of whom belong to a local Knights of Columbus chapter, bought their ticket at a local bowling alley.  Each group member received $43,478.26.  Paying bills, taking a vacation and buying a car are just some of the future plans of individual group members.
  • February 10—Tickets for the 2017 St Patrick’s Day Raffle go on sale, marking the return of the popular game.  The game features three $1million prizes, 250 $1,000 prizes and 9,000 $100 prizes.  Tickets cost $20 each.
  • February 14—A Special Olympics instant game is launched in front of an enthusiastic crowd at Soldier Field in Chicago.  The third iteration of the $3 game is designed to support Illinois Special Olympics, which has more than 40,000 participants.
  • March 16—The newest “MS  Project” instant game is launched. The game costs $3 and features top prizes of $50,000.  All proceeds benefit MS research in Illinois.
  • May 4—Maryville resident Denise Banks-Wilson wins $4.75 million in the Lotto game. Banks-Wilson, a divorce mediator, was attending a work conference when she saw the winning ticket was sold in Springfield (where she had recently bought a ticket).  She called her husband and asked him to check her ticket, which was at home, and found out it had won.  “I was absolutely shocked,” she said.
  • June 30— Fiscal Year 2017 ends, with Lottery sales topping $2.84 billion for the year. More than $723 million in proceeds is forwarded to good causes, including $705.6 million to the Common School Fund and $15 million to Capital Projects.
  • August 11—The Mega Millions drawing produces one winner of $393 million, who bought the ticket at a Palos Heights BBQ restaurant. It is the then largest prize in Illinois Lottery history. The winner, Patricia Busking, and her husband spent a week consulting with family and a professional investment team before claiming the prize in a one-time payment of $246 million.  The selling retailer, Nick’s BBQ, received a $500,000 selling bonus.
  • October 10—The Lottery introduces the 14th version of its “Carolyn Adams Ticket for the Cure” instant game, which, since its inception, has raised more than $12 million for fight against breast cancer.
  • October 31—The first drawing of an enhanced Mega Millions game is held.  Starting jackpots more than double to $40 million, and jackpots grow faster.  The revised game features better odds of winning a $1 million prize, and higher levels for most secondary prizes.  Tickets cost $2 each.  The cost of the Megaplier option remains only $1.  
  • November—The Lottery announces the return of holiday instant game second-chance drawings. Players enter their eligible holiday instant tickets online at Four different 2nd-chance drawings will be held, with prizes ranging from $1,000 to $1million.  The four eligible games include: $1 Holiday Cash, $2 Merry Money, $5 Holiday Bonus, and $10 Merry Millionaire. 


  • January 13—The record $1.5 billion Powerball jackpot drawing produces a flood of winners in Illinois and other states. Illinois saw two $1million winners, six $100,000 winners, 45 winners of $50,000 and more than 893,000 other winners of smaller Powerball prizes.  During the jackpot rollup, Illinois Lottery retailers earned more than $5.3 million in sales commissions.
  • February 16—A second iteration of the Lottery’s “Special Olympics” instant game is launched at Soldier Field in Chicago, where the first Special Olympics games were held in 1968.  The game is expected to raise about $1million for programs that serve some 40,000 Special Olympics athletes in Illinois.
  • March 17—The Lottery launches the latest version of its MS instant game.  Proceeds from game sales help pay for research into the cause and prevention of Multiple Sclerosis.  Tickets cost $3 each, with prizes topping out at $50,000.  As of the launch date, more than $7 million has been raised for the cause through the sales of previous MS tickets.
  • April 4—The Lottery teams up with popular food trucks, select grocery stores, gas stations and a popular motorcycle shop to surprise people across the state with sweet treats and free gasoline, groceries and Lottery tickets, as part of a statewide “Day of Luck” campaign.  Lottery representatives surprise and delight thousands of unsuspecting consumers in Chicago, Joliet, Springfield and Marion.
  • April 18—A $3 “Loteria” instant game is introduced at the National Museum of Mexican Art in Chicago.  The game is an instant ticket version of the Bingo-style game long popular in the Mexican culture.  Players scratch off a “caller’s card” to reveal 14 symbols and hope to match four images with the ones other their Loteria card.  Prizes top out at $50,000.  The game proves very popular with consumers.  
  • June 30—Fiscal Year 2016 ends, with Lottery sales topping $2.85 billion for the year (an all-time record). Nearly $695 million in proceeds is forwarded to good causes, including $691.5 million to the Common School Fund.
  • August 16—The Lottery launches the return of a Wheel of Fortune instant game at the State Fair in Springfield. The $5 game includes prizes of up $250,000.  The game also features a 2nd-chance promotion for one-of-kind trips to Hollywood that include the chance to play in a non-broadcast, Lottery players-only version of the iconic game with Pat Sajak and Vanna White.  The Lottery’s State Fair retailer, 5th St Foods from Lincoln, sells a $250,000 winner to one of the thousands who purchase Lottery tickets at the fair each year.
  • September 16—A husband and wife from Tuscola purchase a Mega Millions ticket for that evening’s drawing that ends up winning more than $133 million.  The couple, who were born and raised in Central Illinois, bought their ticket in Tuscola, and claimed the prize in the name of the Elaine Francis Trust. 
  • October 12—The newest version of the Lottery’s Ticket For the Cure instant game is introduced.  The game is named after Carolyn Adams, the former Lottery Superintendent who lost her battle with breast cancer in 2007.  To date, the Lottery has raised more than $11.5 million to support breast cancer research, awareness and education in Illinois.
  • October 24—Greg Smith is appointed Acting Lottery Director by Governor Bruce Rauner.  Smith comes to Illinois from the Vermont, where he led the Vermont Lottery to its largest-ever sales and profits.
  • November 17—The latest version of Veterans Cash instant game is introduced.  The first game was launched in 2006. Since then, more than $13.3 million has been raised for Illinois veterans programs. 



  • January 16 - A single winning Mega Millions ticket worth $265 million is sold in Glendale Heights. A Naperville man, Jesus Davila Jr, claims the largest prize to date in Illinois Lottery history at a press event held the following month in Chicago’s James R. Thompson Center.
  • February 3 - Tickets go on sale for a new special-cause instant game: $5 Special Olympics. The first-time game is expected to raise about $2 million for Illinois Special Olympics programs across the state.
  • February 16 - Sales begin for an enhanced/revised St. Patrick’s Day Millionaire Raffle. The number of guaranteed prizes expands to 7,122 (previously 509), including three $1 million prizes.
  • February 28 - The final drawing of Hit or Miss was held.
  • March 6 - A new edition of the MS Project instant game is launched with Illinois Lieutenant Governor Evelyn Sanguinetti. The $5 game is expected to raise nearly $2 million to fund new research into a cause for this debilitating disease.
  • March 27 - Governor Bruce Rauner announces his selection of B.R. Lane to become the next Director of the Illinois Lottery. “Lane’s experience in the gaming industry and with regulatory matters in the public and private sectors make her uniquely qualified for the position,” he said. Lane is a graduate of Morgan State University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in English. She earned a law degree from Harvard Law School and an M.B.A from the University of Memphis. She previously was Manager of Regulatory Compliance at International Game Technology, and more recently served as Interim Director of the Gary/Chicago International Airport. Prior to that, Lane was Chief of Staff for the City of Gary, Indiana, where she oversaw all city departments from legal and finance to public safety.
  • June 9 - A new $5 Red Ribbon Cash game is launched. It is expected to raise nearly $2 million to assist people living with HIV/AIDS. Total net proceeds for the cause to date are about $5.8 million.
  • June 30 - FY 2015 sales come in at $2.8414 billion (unaudited), a slight increase from the previous year and an apparent single-year record. Contributions to the state’s Common School Fund (K-12 education) grow to more than $678.5 million.
  • July—Winners of a $262 million Mega Millions jackpot are announced. The jackpot from the June 2, 2015, drawing was claimed by Blue Island residents John Williams and Neal Louge, and is the then-second largest jackpot in Illinois history.
  • July 4—The Lottery sponsors huge fireworks shows in several Illinois communities, including the “largest Fireworks Show” in Southern Illinois” at the Benton Bluegill Music Festival. Other communities that saw Lottery sponsored fireworks included Champaign, Peoria and Rockford.
  • August—Michelle Baymon of Hanover Park claims a $15 million prize in the Lottery’s World Class Millions instant game.  “This is an incredible blessing,” she said.  “I never expected something like this to happen to me.”
  • August—A family of Cash For Life instant games is introduced, marking the return of the Lottery’s most successful instant game ever.   Games are offered at $1, $2, $5 and $10 price points, with respective top prizes of $500, $1,000, $2,500 and $5,000 a week for life.
  • September 1—A new $2 “The Walking Dead” instant game is launched, based on the hit AMC TV series.  It features top prizes of $20,000 and 10 chances to win on each ticket.
  • September 18—Tickets go on sale for Halloween Raffle, the game with the best odds of winning a $1million prize.  Three players win $1million top prizes at game’s end, with 8,253 others winning prizes between $50 and $100,000.
  • October 4 – Changes to the Powerball game result in bigger jackpots, a better 4+1 prize, more prize winners, and a new Power Play 10X multiplier on non-jackpot prizes.  The changes result in higher jackpots and increased consumer demand. 


  • March 6 - The newest MS Project initiative is launched, marking the 7th edition of the instant game of the same name whose proceeds support MS research in Illinois. Since 2008, the Lottery has raised more than $6.5 million to date for the cause.

  • March 18 - The Illinois Lottery holds another St. Patrick’s Day Millionaire Raffle drawing. Four $1 million prizes, and 505 smaller prizes, are awarded.

  • June 27 - The latest edition (7th) of the Illinois Lottery’s instant game, that assists people living with HIV/AIDS, is launched. Red Ribbon Cash, a $2 game, is introduced at the James R. Thompson Center in Chicago as part of the “Step Up, Get Tested” campaign offered by the Chicago National HIV Testing Collaborative.

  • June 30 - Illinois Lottery sales for FY2014 (unaudited) come in at nearly $2.802 billion, with some $815 million in net proceeds awarded to good causes, including $668 million, to the Common School Fund.

  • July 13 - The Lucky Day Lotto game-matrix changes from 5/39 to 5/45. This change will result in larger, long-building jackpots. The EZ Match prizes are enhanced, as is the match-2-number prize (which doubles to $2). The base ticket price remains $1.

  • Sept 14 - The final drawing of MY 3 is held.

  • October 9 - The Illinois Lottery introduces the 11th edition of its breast cancer awareness instant game, Ticket for the Cure, named after former Lottery Superintendent Carolyn Adams. When initially launched in 2006, it was the first game of its type in the nation.

  • November 21 - Sales for the New Year’s Millionaire Raffle begin. The number of available $20 tickets drops from 500,000 to 400,000. Three $1million prizes are offered.



  • January 17 - The Illinois Lottery debuts two successful television commercials that build upon the “Anything’s Possible” branding message. The two commercials--entitled “Socks” and “Shopping”-- show everyday people in familiar situations with surprising outcomes (e.g. dirty socks being deposited by a husband— unsupervised and without prompting—into a dirty-clothes hamper). Five months later “Socks” is recognized by Chicago Business Journal as one of the Top 10 Chicago-produced television ads of all time.

  • January - The Illinois Lottery crosses the $18 billion threshold for total contributions to the Common School Fund and other special causes, since its inception.

  • February 15 The latest edition of St. Patrick’s Day Millionaire Raffle goes on sale statewide. The game sells out just in time for St. Patrick’s Day.

  • March 8 - Directed by comedian and TV personality Andy Richter, new Illinois Lottery commercials are launched featuring “Gil Mitchell” (Richter), an eccentric and slightly silly news anchor tasked with informing Illinoisans about huge jackpots and other Illinois Lottery news. The statewide campaign includes television, radio, digital, and out-of-home components.

  • March 18 - The Illinois Lottery launches the newest version of The MS Project, whose proceeds are dedicated to researching the cause, prevention, and potential cure of multiple sclerosis, an often debilitating disease. The sixth edition of this “special cause” instant game is expected to generate nearly $1 million for the cause. Since 2008, the Lottery has raised more than $5.7 million for MS research.

  • May 27 - The Illinois Lottery’s first “4th of July” multiple-drawing Raffle is launched. Changes from previous Raffle games include: Tickets cost only $10 (instead of $20), and can be eligible for up to five weekly drawings. Four weekly prizes of $500,000 are awarded, followed by a grand-prize drawing for two $1,000,000 prizes on Independence Day.

  • June 2 - The Illinois Lottery adds a midday drawing to the popular 5-digit numbers game, Lucky Day Lotto. The new, midday drawing occurs at 12:40 p.m. seven days a week, while the evening drawing remains at 9:22 p.m.

  • June 5 - Spread the Word, the newest game that supports people living with HIV/AIDS, is launched via a partnership between the Illinois Lottery, the Illinois Department of Public Health, and a host of Illinois-based HIV/AIDS advocates. The Illinois Lottery is the only lottery in the nation with a game whose profits are used exclusively to fund HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment. Since 2008, the Illinois Lottery has contributed over $4.7 million to the cause.

  • June 30 - The Illinois Lottery ends Fiscal 2013 with sales of $2.4813 billion, an all-time record.

  • July 9 - A 27-year-old Chicago man, who purchased a 20x20 instant game at a local grocery store, is presented a ceremonial check representing his prize of $20,000 per week for 20 years. The $20,800,000 prize (paid over 20 years) is the largest instant game prize to date in Illinois Lottery history.

  • July 14 - The Lotto game is improved, providing players a chance at potentially bigger jackpots and better overall odds. The cost of Lotto increases from $.50 to $1 for each game-set. Draw dates include Monday, Thursday, and Saturday evenings. Additionally, Lotto’s prize structure awards new prizes and larger average prizes per category—and offers a new match-2-number prize of $1.

  • Sept 1 - “Plus Fireball” is added to the Pick 3 and Pick 4 games by the Illinois Lottery. A bonus ball (Fireball) is drawn from a pool of numbered balls (10 numbered balls 0–9 for Pick 3 and Pick 4). The chosen Fireball, when numbered, can be used to replace each of the numbers drawn during the Pick 3 or Pick 4 drawings, thereby increasing the chance of having a winning ticket.

  • Sept 12 - The Illinois Lottery introduces the 10th edition of its breast cancer awareness/research instant game, Carolyn Adams Ticket for the Cure. The game is introduced at Loyola University Medical Center, a previous grant recipient of Ticket for the Cure (TFTC) funding. In 2006, TFTC was the first lottery game of its kind in the United States and remains the only lottery game benefitting breast cancer research.

  • Sept 22 - The Lottery adds “Hit or Miss” to the portfolio of draw games. Hit or Miss has four drawings daily, and is played by selecting twelve numbers from a pool of 24. Players win the $250,000 top prize by matching all twelve numbers drawn—or matching none of the twelve numbers drawn. Players who hit or miss all twelve numbers are provided a chance to match a randomly drawn “Good Life” number (1-5), which can result in an additional $2 million in prize money (paid in 20 annual installments of $100,000).

  • Sept 22 - A new Halloween Millionaire Raffle game goes on sale. Halloween Raffle offers four $1 million prizes, and for the first time ever, a $500,000 early bird drawing, and up to 5,000 instant-win prizes of $100 each. The $100 instant-win prizes are randomly printed on select Raffle tickets sold between Sept 22 and Nov 1.

  • Nov 11 - The Illinois Lottery kicks off the statewide launch of the newest Veterans Cash instant lottery game at Volunteers of America of Illinois, Manor House I—a nonprofit dedicated to helping Veterans rebuild their lives in Chicago’s Humboldt Park neighborhood. Since the first Vets Cash game launched in 2006, the Lottery has raised more than $11 million in grants for Illinois Veterans’ organizations.

  • Dec 17 - The Mega Millions jackpot reaches $648 million, the then-second largest jackpot in the game’s history. Grand prize winning tickets are purchased in California and Georgia. One lucky Illinois player wins $1 million, and is among the 1,123,587 winning tickets sold in Illinois for the final drawing.



  • May 8 - The Illinois Lottery launches a series of MLB instant games featuring the Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox, and St. Louis Cardinals. The $2 games offer top cash prizes of $25,000 and 2013 MLB season tickets to the respective ball club. Players can also enter a second-chance drawing to win an all-expense paid trip for four to the 2012 World Series.

  • May 13 - The $3 “Carolyn Adams Ticket for the Cure” instant game is launched at the Y-Me “Race at Your Pace” breast cancer walk in Chicago’s Grant Park. To date, over $8.5 million has been raised by the Illinois Lottery for the fight against breast cancer.

  • June 30 - The Illinois Lottery ends fiscal year 2012 with record sales of over $2.67 billion and transfers of about $708.6 million to good causes, including $639.8 million to the Common School Fund, $65.2 million for the Capital Projects Fund, and $3.4 million for special-cause instant games.

  • August 7 - Red Ribbon Cash, a $3 special-cause instant game, is introduced. As part of the game launch, a 15-minute documentary on the state of the HIV/AIDS in Illinois is screened at the Gene Siskel Film Center in Chicago. With the latest RRC game, the Illinois Lottery will have raised nearly $6 million to fund programs that provide HIV prevention, awareness, and support services to Illinoisans living with the disease.

  • Oct 31 - The 11th Raffle game, Halloween Raffle, sells out on Oct 31. A total of 509 winning raffle numbers are announced. To date, forty-four $1-million Raffle prizes have been generated.

  • Nov 7 - The Veterans Cash instant game is launched at Chicago Lighthouse for People Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired. The new game is expected to raise an additional $900,000 for veterans.

  • September 9 - The Illinois Lottery introduces My 3 – a new draw game where players choose 3 numbers (0-9) for a chance to win. The new game is the first to use animation, in displaying winning numbers, on the Illinois Lottery’s website.

  • October 28 - The Lotto game is revamped by the Illinois Lottery through the addition of “Extra Shot.” Lotto with Extra Shot offers players six more ways to win at a cost of $1 more per 2-game set.

  • December - Illinois Lottery players can now play Powerball online through the Illinois Lottery’s website. This brings to three the number of games that can be purchased by Illinois adults via the internet (the other games are Mega Millions and Lotto).



  • March 17 - The 9th Millionaire Raffle drawing is held, creating 509 winners, including four $1-mil winners! Once again, 500,000 available tickets sell out early.

  • April - A 3-game “Cash For Life” family of instant games premieres.  The three scratch-off games (priced at $1, $2 and $5) were designed by Northstar Lottery Group, and offer lifetime weekly prizes of $500, $1,000 and $2,500.

  • May - The lottery steps up retailer recruitment efforts, and begins installing state-of-the-art Lottery terminals in over 7,400 retail locations across Illinois.

  • June 30 - The lottery ends Fiscal Year 2011 with total sales of $2.278 billion, the largest single-year sales total in Lottery history. Over $631.8 million is contributed to the state’s Common School Fund; nearly $4 million goes to worthy causes like Illinois veterans and the fight against breast cancer; and over $54 million is contributed to the state’s Capitol Projects Fund.

  • July 1, 2011 - Northstar Lottery Group officially takes over day-to-day Lottery operations, with the Lottery maintaining oversight and providing key input. The Lottery remains a state entity/asset. Northstar’s compensation (bonuses and/or penalties) will be directly tied to the Lottery’s annual, net-revenue performance.

  • August 21 - Retailers begin earning a 1 percent cashing bonus for paying out prizes of up to $600. The cashing bonus is expected to provide retailers some $10.5 million in extra compensation per year.

  • August 22 - Illinois Deputy Lottery Superintendent Victor Golden is named Interim Lottery Superintendent by Governor Pat Quinn.

  • Sept. 6 - A $200,000,000 Cash Spectacular instant game is launched, the highest payout $10 instant game in Lottery history.

  • Oct 15 - The Lottery, once again, becomes its own cabinet-level state agency (separating from the Department of Revenue), with Michael Jones named Lottery Superintendent by Governor Pat Quinn.  It is Jones second stint at the Lottery’s helm, having previously served as Lottery chief from 1981-1985.

  • Oct 27 - The Lottery introduces its first $3 Veteran’s Cash instant game, which features four $40,000 prizes, and 100% of proceeds benefitting Illinois veterans groups. Governor Pat Quinn and Lottery Superintendent Michael Jones hold a Chicago press event that creates substantial statewide media coverage for the ticket/cause.

  • Nov - Holiday Lottery coupons are mailed to 1.8 million Illinois households: coupons include buy 1 get 1 free offers for Lotto, Little Lotto, Mega Millions and Powerball, plus a $1 off coupon for instant game purchases of $5 or more.


  • January 4 - $2 Chicago Blackhawks Cash is launched, the first Lottery instant game offered in conjunction with a National Hockey League. Players can win up to $20,000 in cash, or one of 875 Blackhawks game jerseys. A related 2nd-chance drawing awards two players with 1-of-a-kind trips to a Blackhawks road game, including an overnight stay at the Blackhawks team hotel, and the chance to ride the team bus to the game!
  • Jan 10 - The first midday Sunday Pick 3/4 drawings are held. Pick 3: 038; Pick 4:1170
  • Jan 31 - The Illinois Lottery begins selling tickets to Powerball, the Mega-Millions-like game with drawings every Wednesday and Saturday.
  • March 12 - A winning $20 million Mega Millions ticket is sold at Hennepin Food Mart in Central IL. Winners Dan and Julie Colby use part of the winnings to take a family trip with their children to Disney World!.
  • March 17 - The 7th Raffle drawing is held, creating 509 winners, including four $1 million winners! The game’s 500,000 tickets sell out early.
  • June 1 - Mega Millions players can now purchase a “Megaplier” option that multiplies all winning prizes.
  • June 8 - The Lottery begins offering Mega Millions subscriptions. Within two months, Mega Millions subscription sales total nearly $500,000.
  • June 30 - The Lottery ends fiscal year 2010 with annual sales of $2.1 billion. This marks the Lottery’s seventh consecutive annual sales record, and the third straight year of sales in excess of $2 billion. Instant games are again the top-selling product, with sales of over $1billion. Four “specialty” instant games raised over $5 million for the following worthy causes: Illinois veterans, MS research, the fight against breast cancer, and assistance for those living with HIV/AIDS.
  • June 30 - Lottery winner Loyd Elam of Lincoln charters a bus to take 38 under-privileged children to a Chicago Cubs game in Wrigley Field. This marks the 20th and final year Elam has performed this annual community service. All told, 780 children received a major league “field-of-dreams trip,” thanks to Elam’s 20 years of generosity.
  • Sept 15 - Gov Pat Quinn accepts the recommendation of a multi-agency evaluation committee and selects Northstar Lottery Group as the private management consortium that will run most day-to-day Lottery operations beginning next fiscal year (the state retains stewardship of the Lottery, and oversees Northstar’s performance).
  • Sept 15 - A first-of-its kind $5 Mega Millions/Powerball instant game is launched. Players can win instant prizes of up to $100,000. The game offers a multiplier feature that mimics the online games’ game-play. In addition, the game contains a cross-promotion feature that permits Mega/Pball instant players to win a free, $1 online Mega/Pball ticket. 
  • Oct 31 - The eighth Millionaire Raffle drawing is held, creating 509 winners, including four $1 million winners! Once again, 500,000 available tickets sell out early.
  • Dec 3-24 - The popular Pick 3 Green Ball Double Draw promotion is offered, once again. When a green ball is selected, a second set of winning Pick 3 numbers is drawn!
  • Dec 8 - New colored balls (yellow, green, orange and blue) debut on televised Little Lotto drawings. The new balls are easier to read and feature a line under each number.



  • Jan 19 - Chicago Blackhawks fan Cary Stolarczyk wins $1 million as part of an in-stadium promotion with the Lottery. To win, the Blackhawks had to score a goal at precisely the 10-minute mark of the 2nd period (Martin Havlat did the scoring honors).
  • March 17 - 509 winners are selected in the Lottery’s third St. Patrick’s Day millionaire raffle. 500,000 tickets sell out in only 23 days!
  • April 1 - The Lottery launches its first “Pick 3 Red Ball” promotion. If a red ball is selected from April 1-21, prizes increase by 20 percent! And yes, a red ball is selected seven times during the 3-week promotion.
  • May 11 - Illinois residents can now purchase subscriptions to the Mega Millions game.
  • May 15 - The Lottery launches a summer-long 35th Anniversary 2nd-Chance promotion. Consumers who mail in $35 worth of eligible non-winning tickets are entered in a drawing to win one of sixty $35,000 prizes awarded (five winners per week, or one per weekday) through September 1.  
  • July 1- FY09 Lottery sales total nearly $2.1 billion, the largest single-year sales in Lottery history; FY09 contributions to the Common School Fund total $625 million.
  • August - $3,000,000 Cash Spectacular, the Lottery’s first $30 instant game, is launched. It features 20 prizes between $1 million and $3 million, and has the largest prize-payout percentage of any instant game every offered by the Lottery. Overall possibility of winning a prize are 1 in 2.46.
  • August 28 - The Mega Millions jackpot grows to $336 million, the then-2nd largest Mega Millions jackpot ever. During the 15-drawing run-up to $336 million, Illinois sold nine winning $250,000 tickets and 80 winning $10,000 tickets—plus more than 1.2 million other cash prizes for Illinois players. Jackpot prizes for this drawing were sold in California and New York.
  • September - The Lottery launches a multi-media “cash-alanche” ad campaign designed to peak interest in Mega Millions when the jackpot is relatively small. TV, radio, digital and out-of-home executions depict Mega winners buried in cash.
  • October 1 - The sixth Raffle game goes on sale, with 500,000 $20 tickets selling out in 30 days. Like previous raffles, there are 509 prizes awarded, including four top prizes of $1-million, and five $100,000 prizes.
  • November - The Lottery launches 10 holiday instant games, including $10 Merry Millionaire, which contains the first-ever “scratch my back” feature (three instant-win play areas on the ticket’s back).
  • Dec 3-24: The Lottery runs its popular, perennial holiday promotion: Pick 3 Green Ball Double Draw. When a green ball is selected in a special drawing, a second set of Pick 3 numbers is drawn (with the Lottery paying out on both sets of Pick 3 numbers).



  • Feb 18 - The Lottery launches Red Ribbon Cash, a $2 specialty game whose proceeds go to improving the lives of those living with HIV-AIDS.
  • Feb 21 - Sales begin for the latest Millionaire Raffle game, which sells out in 22 days.
  • June 16 - The first of 12 weekly drawings is held in the Replay For Riches summer promotion. Consumers submit $30 worth of eligible non-winning tickets for a chance to win one of 12 finalist prizes. Over 1 million entries are received during the 12-week promotion. Ascension Tristan of East Chicago is selected as the $1 million winner during a finale event held in late September at Chicago’s U.S. Cellular Field.
  • June 30 - Fiscal year 2008 sales reach $2.078 billion, the largest single-year sales in Lottery history. FY08 transfers to the Common School Fund reach $657 million.
  • September 16 - The Lottery launches $2 “It’s Double Time!” All proceeds from this specialty instant game support the fight against Multiple Sclerosis.
  • Oct 3 - Halloween Millionaire Raffle tickets go on sale. 509 winning tickets—including four $1 million winners—are selected on Oct 31, 2008.
  • Oct 23 - Lottery Supt Jodie Winnett holds a press conference with Tammy Duckworth, director of the IL Dept of Veterans Affairs, to announce $2 Coin Craze, a new instant ticket that benefits Illinois Veterans. Coin Craze is the 6th instant game that benefits Illinois veterans to be offered by the Lottery. Over $6 million has been raised for Illinois veteran’s groups to date.
  • Dec 4-24 - The Lottery runs its popular, perennial holiday promotion - Pick 3 Green Ball Double Draw. When a green ball is selected in a special drawing, a second set of Pick 3 numbers is drawn (with the Lottery paying out on both sets of Pick 3 numbers).



  • Feb. 5 - “$20 St. Patrick’s Day Millionaire Raffle” is launched.  A total of 500,000 tickets are sold sequentially throughout the state via the Lottery’s online terminals.  Consumer reaction is overwhelmingly positive. The final, 500,000th ticket is sold March 1. On March 17, a drawing is held to select the following winners:  Four $1 million winners, five $100,000 winners, and 500 $1,000 winners. 
  • March 26 - Lottery Supt. Carolyn Adams passes away after a long battle with breast cancer.  Memorial services are held in Chicago and Springfield for the late Superintendent.   Gov. Rod Blagojevich and the Rev. Jesse Jackson are among the many dignitaries who attend Supt. Adams’ funeral in Chicago. Gov. Blagojevich suggests changing the name of the Lottery’s Ticket For the Cure instant game to the “Carolyn Adams Ticket for the Cure.”   
  • April - Department of Revenue executive Jodie Winnett is named Acting Lottery Superintendent.
  • June 21 - Summer Millionaire Raffle tickets go on sale.


The Illinois Lottery launches a record-setting summer promotion called “Million Dollar summer” with more than $300 million in total available cash prizes. This is the largest amount of available cash prizes of any promotion in Illinois Lottery history.

  • June 30 - Fiscal year 2007 Lottery sales eclipse $2 billion for the first time ever.
  • July 31 - Summer Millionaire Raffle drawing is held, with 509 winners (including four $1 million prizes) selected from the 500,000 tickets sold.
  • Oct/Nov - The Lottery launches a 10-game suite of holiday instant tickets, including a huge, $15 game called Holiday Countdown (calendar-type game).



  • January - The Illinois Lottery launches “Ticket For the Cure,” a $2 instant game whose proceeds support the fight against breast cancer. This ticket is the first of its kind in the United States.
  • February - The Lottery launches $2 “Veterans Cash,” a first in the nation instant game that benefits Illinois veterans groups.
  • March 27 - Pick ‘n Play is launched, a new online game that combines the best of both instant and online games. To play, customers selected one or more play cards (that look like instant games without a scratch area) and take tem to the Lottery counter for purchase/activation; the Lottery clerk scans the play card, producing an online ticket that that is used to play game against the play card. The Lottery promotes Pick ‘n Play through advertising, POS materials..
  • April - The Lottery launches a huge, summer-long promotion called “Set for Life.”  Under the promotion, consumers mail in $30 in eligible non-winning tickets for a chance to win one of 16 great, lifetime prizes.  Pick ‘n Play online tickets, and a suite of six Set for Life instant games are eligible for the promotion.  Sixteen winners (one per week) gather at a September finale event at Wrigley Field in Chicago, where the following prizes are awarded”  $100,000 a year for life (one prize);  $7,000 a year for life (five prizes) and $3,500 a year for life (10 prizes).
  • May 12 - The Lottery partners with Chicago radio station WVON to provide women with free mammograms via a mobile examining truck. Free “Ticket for the Cure” giveaways at the event capture the spirit of the day.
  • June 30 - The Lottery ends fiscal year 2006 with record sales of $1.989 billion, and record Common School Fund transfers of $670.5 million.
  • August 1-31 - The popular Green Ball Double Draw Pick 3 promotion is reintroduced—the first time it is offered during the summer. If a green ball is selected, a second set of winning Pick 3 numbers is drawn.
  • November - The Lottery offers two instant game firsts, as part of its holiday instant game lineup: $5 Gift Tag Bonus (five tickets in one, including four to:/from: gift tags); and $15 Holiday Countdown (the Lottery’s first $15 game), a huge 7.5” x 11” game that opens like a countdown calendar.  



  • March 1 - “Shamrock Shuffle” from March 1 – 22 offers Pick 3 players a possible double chance to win on their tickets. If a “green” ball is pulled from a special barrel of mostly white balls, the Lottery will immediately hold another Pick 3 drawing and will pay out on both sets of numbers. The “green” ball was selected six times.
  • March 4 - First Monday night drawing for Lotto is held. 
  • April 1 - The Illinois Lottery launches its first $20 instant ticket, $50 Million Spectacular.  Total prizes available of $50 million with three top prizes of $2 million.  The Game sells out weeks ahead of schedule.
  • April 1 - “Road to Riches” promotion launches offering 20 weekly drawings starting May 5.  Each week the winning entry will receive the keys to a new car that they will receive during a September 24 grand finale.  The 20 winners will gather at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago to claim their car and, upon opening the trunk, find an additional prize of between $25,000 to $1 million cash. More than 1.6 million entries are received during the promotion, including 332,000 entries received via  
  • April 4 - A Monday draw is added to Lotto for a total of three draws per week.
  • June 24 - First draw of “New” Mega Millions is held in Hollywood, when California becomes the 12thstate to offer Mega Millions. Game changes include: matrix changes to 1/56 and 1/46, starting jackpot increases to $12 million, second prize increases to $250,000, and third prize increases to $10,000.
  • June 30 - Illinois Lottery completes another record fiscal year (FY05). Highest-ever sales reached $1.84 billion, which allowed the Illinois Lottery to transfer a record amount of $614 million to the Common School Fund.  Instant ticket sales had a record of $904 million.  
  • October - The Lottery launches a 19-day (Oct 1-19) Little Lotto Super Game promotion that offers daily prizes of trips for 4 to the Super football game to be held in Detroit in February 2006. 
  • November - The Lottery caps its retailer-selling bonus at $500,000, which is still one of the most generous in the industry.
  • Dec. 31 - The final drawing of Numbers Now is held.



  • Feb. 25 - “New Little Lotto” begins, featuring a new 5/39 matrix, rolling jackpots starting at $100,000, and a new prize level for matching just two numbers. 
  • April 12 - The Lottery launches its 30th Anniversary $3 million Second Chance Promotion.  This is the highest total prize money offered for a second-chance promotion in Illinois.  Players have the chance to enter and win 20 weekly drawings for $100,000, and a Grand Prize drawing of $1 million.  
  • June 28 - “Numbers Now” begins, replacing Extra for the Pick 3 and Pick 4 games.  Numbers Now features the same odds—and 20 percent higher prizes—as regular Pick 3 and Pick 4, with prizes that are paid instantly and “announced” via a terminal jingle.
  • June 30 - The Lottery ends Fiscal Year 2004 with the highest-ever sales totaling $1.7 billion, and Common School Fund transfers of $570 million.
  • Sept. 23 - The Lottery holds its 30th Anniversary Grand Finale Drawing for $1,000,000.  Karen Willemalck of Round Lake Park is the lucky winner.  Throughout the promotion over 1.1 million entries are received.
  • December - “Green Ball Double Draw” Pick 3 promotion is held from December 1 to December 24.  Following each Pick 3 drawing a special drawing is held to see if a second Pick 3 number will be drawn, giving Players a second chance on their tickets.  If a “green” ball is pulled from the barrel of mostly white balls, the Lottery will immediately hold another Pick 3 and will pay out on both sets of numbers.  The “green” ball was selected eight times.



  • Feb. 14 - Following the Lottery’s “Thank you” promotion, 20 lucky players receive $10,000 in the “Fun for all Cash Give-away,” which had nearly one million entries.  
  • June 1 - The Illinois Lottery once again becomes a division with the IL Department of Revenue.
  • June 18 - Carolyn Adams begins her tenure as the Superintendent of the Illinois Lottery.
  • June 30 - The Lottery ends fiscal year 2003 with the highest-ever Instant sales, $698 million.
  • Aug. 20 - "The Flying Elvi," parachute into the fairgrounds and help Governor Rod Blagojevich and Superintendent Carolyn Adams launch the Lottery’s first “Elvis” instant ticket during the Illinois State fair. This ticket offers seven top prizes of $10,000 and features five memorable photographic highlights of Elvis Presley’s career (which the Governor recounts during the tickets’ State Fair launch).
  • December - Pick 3 "Double Draw" promotion offers a special chance to Players for the month of December. Following each Pick 3 drawing a special drawing is held to see if a second Pick 3 number will be drawn, giving Players a second chance on their tickets. If a "green" ball is pulled from the barrel of mostly white balls, the Lottery will immediately hold another Pick 3 and will pay out on both sets of numbers.



  • January 25 - The Lottery announces its 1000th millionaire, Steve Harris of Effingham, during a press conference at the ESPN Zone in Chicago. Mr. Harris won the December 22, 2001, Lotto drawing for $9 million.
  • April 10 - The nine-member states comprising the Big Game Group announces the upcoming launch of Mega Millions, a new multi-state, mega-jackpot lottery game.  Tickets for Mega Millions game will be sold exclusively in Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Virginia, and Washington.  Tickets for Mega Millions go on sale Wednesday, May 15, 2002 and the first televised drawing is conducted on Friday, May 17, 2002.
  • April 26 - The Illinois Lottery has a $12 million winner in the Big Game. Ultimately, this winner is the very last winner of the Big Game.
  • May 15 - Tickets go on sale for "Mega Millions," which replaces the Big Game. The original Big Game Group is joined by the states of Ohio and New York to offer Mega Millions. Tickets cost $1 each and jackpots start at $10 million. Matrix is five numbers 1-52 and one number 1-52. 
  • May 17 - The first Mega Millions drawing produces one winner – in Illinois.  Samuel and Frances Rice and their daughter, Caroline Southall of Chicago, were presented with the commemorative check for $28 million at a press conference on June 25.
  • June 30 - The Illinois Lottery closes fiscal year 2002 with sales of $1.59 billion, which top the previous year's sales by more than $140 million. This is the highest year-to-year sales increase for the Illinois Lottery since fiscal year 1989 and the fifth-highest sales year in Lottery history.
  • Aug. 26 - The Illinois Lottery launches its first Wheel of Fortune 20th Anniversary instant game. The three-dollar ticket offers over $5 million total in prizes with five top prizes of $40,000 each. A unique second chance feature of the ticket includes drawings for the chance to win an audition for the Wheel of Fortune game show.



  • May 6 - The Lottery partners with the Illinois Bureau of Tourism to launch its unique "Illinois Road Trip" instant ticket, where players can win cash prizes, a Sport Utility Vehicle and mini-vacations to exclusive destinations across Illinois. The Lottery holds second-chance drawings for the SUV and trips throughout the summer.
  • October 23 - The Lottery begins "Extra," an instant-win feature for two of its online games, Pick 3 and Pick4.



  • May - The Illinois Lottery reached a total of $10 billion in transfers to the Common School Fund.
  • May 9 - The Big Game reached a record setting $363 million jackpot, the largest in North American history. The jackpot was split by a family in Michigan and Joe and Sue Kainz of Tower Lakes, Illinois.
  • June 2 - The Illinois Lottery launched a new instant ticket called Let's Make A Deal during its Big annual Millionaires' Reunion. A visit from Monty Hall was a highlight of the event.
  • June 30 - The Illinois Lottery ended fiscal year 2000 with sales reaching $1.5 billion for the 12th consecutive year.
  • Oct. 21 - The final Illinois' Luckiest (previously Fortune Hunt and then Illinois Instant Riches) TV game show aired. This show featured 25 contestants and a $200,000 grand prize winner.
  • November - The Illinois Lottery launched it's first $10 instant ticket, Merry Millionaire. By the end of December, the Lottery had its first "Merry Millionaire," Peter Diventi of Rockford.


  • Jan. 13 - The Big Game's Big Money Ball matrix changes from 1/25 to 1/36. This revision changes the possibility of winning the grand prize jackpot to 1 in 76.2 million.

  • Apr. 14 - Lotto matrix changes from 6/48 to 6/52, with a new prize structure of $3 for matching 3 numbers.

  • July 20 - The Lottery presents its first annual "Heart of Gold" award to Loyd Elam of Lincoln. Elam, who won $7 million in 1991, annually treats a group of 35 to 40 underprivileged children to a chartered-bus trip to attend a Chicago Cubs game at Wrigley Field. Elam received the wood-and-bronze award from Lottery Director Lori Montana. And oh yeah, the Cubs beat the Royals 8-7!

  • Nov. 18 - "Lucky" the Lottery cow mooooves home! After being on display all summer as part of Chicago's successful Cows on Parade program, Lucky is welcome home by scored on Lottery employees. The event makes news across the state!



  • Jan 15 - "New Lotto…All the Money, All Once" is introduced, featuring an all-cash jackpot that begins at $1 million and increases with every rollover, a 6-48 matrix, and a free $1 instant game prize for matching only 3 numbers. Over the first two months of the game, sales increase 30 percent over comparable "old" Lotto jackpots.

  • Jan. 16 - The Lottery mails Valentine's Day discount coupons to 1 million Illinois households offering a buy one (or two, or three) instant ticket(s) and receive a free $1 instant ticket. More that 20.5 percent of the coupons are redeemed.

  • Feb. 10 - A second weekly Big Game drawing is added on Tuesdays. During the initial weeks of the semi-weekly drawings, sales increase by some 60 percent compared to the once-a-week format.

  • March 9 - The first "High Payout Week" is launched for Pick 3 and Pick 4. Players who win during this week receive prizes that are 20 percent higher than normal. The "high payout" week is selected randomly and repeated for a period of several months. More than 3,700 agents receive cash bonuses for meeting or exceeding sales goals.

  • June 19 - The Lottery begins a year-long celebration of its 25th year by launching-at its bi-annual Millionaires Reunion-a $2, "25th Anniversary Cash" instant ticket that will be available for an entire year. The ticket launch, held at Chicago's Scuzzi! Restaurant, garners huge media coverage across Illinois.

  • August 4 - The first Tuesday Little Lotto drawing is held, marking the beginning of 5-day-a-week Little Lotto drawings. The move provides players added convenience and opportunity to play the Lottery's popular 5-of-30 game.

  • Nov. 5 - The Lottery unveils four changeable “Millionaire Tally” billboards in the Chicago area.  The “935 Millionaires and Counting” message is updated every time a millionaire is created.  

  • Dec. 15 - The Lottery announces a 25th Anniversary Logo Contest open to all Illinois residents 18 or older. The winning logo designer receives $10,000, with five runners-up each receiving $1,000.  The winning logo features an outline of the state, with industry depicted in the Chicago area and agriculture depicted in central and southern Illinois. 



  • Mar. 1 - Lori S. Montana takes the helm as the seventh Director of the Illinois State Lottery. She was appointed to the post February 7, by Governor Jim Edgar.

  • May 13 - The Lottery introduces its first $3 instant game, "Special Edition Win For Life," which features nine "lifetime" prizes of $1,000, $2,000, or $5,000 a week for life.

  • July 1 - The Lottery links its "free" 800-player hotline to a professional gambling help-line. Callers with gambling problems can receive 24-hour assistance from professional counselors.

  • Sept. 12  - Illinois becomes the first business entity in the nation to "wrap" a rapid transit train in vinyl for advertising purpose. The 8-car Lottery "El" train runs for 4 months on the north/south "Redline" that runs through Chicago's famous "Loop".

  • Nov. 24 - The Lottery mails holiday discount coupons to 1 million Illinois households offering a buy one (or two) instant ticket(s) and receive a free $1 instant ticket. Nearly 19.4 percent of the coupons are redeemed.

  • Dec. 31 - Lottery Director Lori Montana climbs into a huge drawing drum before a room full of news media to select the $1 million all-cash winner in "Lotto's $1,000,000 New Year's Eve Countdown" promotion. Nearly 2 million entries are received from players across the state. Lim Burch of Metamora wins the lucky $1million prize, while 25 other players each win 2nd-place prizes of $1,998.



  • July 24 - With more than 1.5 million entries received, the Lotto Fantastic Fantasy Promotion was a big success. Players who purchase a $5 Lotto ticket enter a drawing for one of the five fantasy prizes - car, boat, home improvement, shopping spree or cash.

  • Sept. 6 - The big news is the Big Game, a multi-state Lotto game with weekly drawings offering hundred of thousands of dollars in prizes. The mega-million jackpot game features nine ways to win eight different prizes. Tickets are offered in Illinois, Georgia, Virginia, Maryland, Michigan, and Massachusetts. For $1, players choose five numbers from 1 - 50 and a sixth bonus number from 1 to 25.

  • Nov. 21 - For the 2nd consecutive holiday season, the Lottery teams with Town and Country Homes for a month-long Lotto promotion. More than 2 million "Home for the Holidays" entries are received, an all-time record. A Bloomington man and Chicago woman win $150,000 homes.



  • Jan. 29 - Lottery check-writing centers can issue winners on-the-spot checks of $1 to $25,000. Agents cannot cash winning online tickets up to one year old.

  • Feb. 13 - Little Lotto subscription program begins. Players can subscribe to Little Lotto for up to one year. Minimum subscription costs $39.

  • April 25 - Governor Jim Edgar hosts a ceremony dedicating the Lottery's administrative headquarters in Springfield to the memory of Rockford State Rep. E.J. "Zeke" Giorgi.

  • Nov. 3 - Michael Jordan's jersey numbers pay off big in the Lottery's Pick 4 evening drawing (and opening night for the Chicago Bulls). The numbers, 2-3-4-5, result in a payout of $1,819,5000, the third largest in Lottery history. Jordan, who wears 23 for the Bulls, wore 45 early in last year's comeback season (and as a White Sox minor leaguer). Jordan scores a game-high 42 points as the Bulls topped Charlotte.



  • Jan. 1 - Evening drawings return to WGN-TV at a new time, 9:22 p.m.

  • July 9 - The Lottery unveils a new TV game show, "Illinois Instant Riches," which was created by Mark Goodman Productions. Linda Kollmeyer and Mark Goodman are co-hosts.

  • July 18 - The first of 1,000 Instant Ticket Vending Machines, and 600 In-Counter Ticket Dispensers, are installed in agent locations.

  • Nov. 7 - First draw date for Little Lotto 5/30, replacing Little Lotto 5/35. Matrix change is first since game began in 1988.



  • Jan. 2 - "$100,000 Fortune Hunt" TV game show is revamped, allowing winners to return to the following week's show for up to five consecutive weeks.

  • Nov. 29 - "Stocking Stuffer," the Lottery's first $5 instant ticket with top prizes of $100,000, is launched.

  • Dec. 20 - A midday, Monday-through-Saturday, Pick 3 and Pick 4 drawing is implemented at 12:40 p.m. to provide added convenience to players.



  • Mar. 26 - More than one million people enter the Sweet Dreams “Sheepstakes” 2nd chance drawing.  Five lucky people win Ford Mustang Convertibles, and 1,000 people win $100 cash in one of the Lottery’s most successful 2nd chance promotions ever.

  • Aug. 14 - The Illinois Lottery introduces "Keno" as a one-time, experimental game at the Illinois State Fair. Sales of "Keno" at the nine-day fair exceed $80,000.

  • Dec. 28 - The Lottery begins hosting live nightly drawings on WBBM-TV (Channel 2) in Chicago.



  • Feb. 8 - Desirée Glapion Rogers is appointed as the sixth Director of the Illinois State Lottery.

  • Mar. 19 - Illinois Gov. Jim Edgar assists the Lottery in launching "Cash 'n Fly," a first-of-its-kind instant game that offers consumers the chance to win travel prizes on United Airlines.

  • Oct. 30 - For the 11th time in Lottery history, payouts for both Pick 4 (1-2-1-1) and Pick 3 (2-1-2) exceed 100 percent for both games on the same day.

  • Nov. 9 - The Illinois Lottery creates its 700th millionaire when Allen & Elizabeth Hardt, from Oswego, win a $2.7 million Lotto jackpot.

  • Dec. 14 - Dr. Glen Bynum wins $2.8 million playing Lotto-By-Mail, the 2nd Lotto-By-Mail Grand Prize winner in Lottery history.



  • Mar. 4 -  Lotto and Little Lotto can now be played 1 through 15 consecutive draws. Replacing 5, 10, and 15 advance plays.

  • Aug. 15 - Lotto expanded to twice-weekly drawings held on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

  • Dec19 - “3 For A Million” promotion begins.  Players matching 3 of 6 Lotto numbers drawn on the 19th, 22nd, 26th, or 29th of December may win $1 million. 



  • April 15 - The Illinois State Lottery records its highest jackpot ever, $69.9 million. 

  • May 15 - The name of the Cash 5 game is changed to Little Lotto.

  • July 1 - The Lottery hits $1.5 billion in sales during fiscal year 1989 – a new record.

  • Aug. 9 - Highest ever Daily Game (Pick 3) payout on 1-1-1 (prize payout of $7.28 million or 723%). That same day saw the highest Pick 4 payout ever on 1-0-1-1 prize payout of $1.6 million, or 544%.

  • Aug. 26 - The Madigan Partnership wins $42 million Grand Prize, the (then) largest Lottery prize awarded to a single winner in Lottery history.

  • Nov. 13 - The Lottery reaches $10 billion in sales since its beginning.

  • Dec. 26 - First unclaimed prize fund promotion held. Every 25th Lotto transaction statewide wins holiday bonus.



  • April - The first two dollar instant game is launched, Triple Crown. 
  • May 4 - Last draw date for Lotto 7.
  • May 7 - First draw date for Lotto 6/54, replacing Lotto 6/44.

  • June 1 - Cash 5 game starts, a 5/35 Lotto game, held Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.



  • April 22 - Lotto 7 is introduced, replacing the Wednesday Lotto drawing.

  • June 30 - Lottery sales reach $6.5 billion since its inception.

  • Aug. 17 - Sharon Sharp is appointed as the fifth Director of the Illinois State Lottery.



  • Jan. 15 - Wednesday Lotto drawing is introduced.

  • Feb. 19 - Lotto subscription services begin.

  • July 1 - The Illinois Lottery separates from the Department of Revenue and becomes the Department of the Lottery.



  • Mar. 9 - Pick 4 drawings are increased to seven days per week.
  • June 30 - The lottery announces FY85 results; $1.28B in sales, a billion dollar increase in less than four years. Michael Jones announces his return to private business. 
  • Aug. 1 - Rebecca Paul is appointed as the fourth Superintendent of the Illinois State Lottery.

  • Aug. 30 - First transfer of Lottery proceeds to the Common School Fund (instead of the General Revenue Fund).

  • Dec. 1 - Lotto "Advance Play" is introduced. Quick Pick for the Daily Game (Pick 3) and Pick 4 is introduced. For the first time in Lottery history, sales exceed $1 billion in a single year. 



  • Feb. 22 - Lotto "Quick Pick" is introduced.

  • May 19 - First drawing of Lotto 6/44 is held.

  • Aug. 27 - Pick 4 drawings are increased to six days per week.

  • Sept. 1 - Deliberate changes to Lotto, and the decision not to increase the number of drawings, leads to the largest jackpot in modern lottery history. Michael Wittkowski wins $40 million and becomes a folk hero.

  • Nov. 5 - The Governor announces that it took seven years for the lottery to achieve its first billion dollars in sales, and only eighteen months to generate its second billion. 



  • January - Illinois creates the Millionaires Dinner (reunion) as a promotional opportunity to showcase winners of a million dollars or more. 

  • Feb. 19 - Illinois introduces Lotto 6/40, the first state to guarantee a million dollar prize. The prize-guarantee kick starts sales and bartender at the Billy Goat Tavern (made famous by Saturday Night Live) becomes the first major Lotto winner
  • Mar. 20 - Daily Game (Pick 3) drawings are increased to seven days per week.
  • March 30 - The Lottery creates the first ever $100,000 instant prize. 



  • January - Instant game marketing and design is completely revamped, leading to a 62 percent increase in FY sales. Advertising creative is changed to brand advertising. 
  • Feb. 16 - Pick 4 is introduced with drawings on Tuesdays and Fridays. Daily Games sales increase 52% over 1981 sales. 



  • Aug. 1 –  Michael J. Jones is appointed as the Lottery's third Superintendent.



  • Feb. 19 - Daily Game (Pick 3) is introduced featuring six drawings weekly.



  • July 1 - Richard Carlson becomes the Lottery's second Superintendent.



  • Oct. 21 - First instant game (7-11-21)  introduced.



  • State Representative E.J. "Zeke" Giorgi (D-Rockford) sponsored legislation that authorized the state to conduct a lottery and thereafter was known as the "Father of the Illinois State Lottery”.  Representative Giorgi was the longest-serving member of the Illinois House when he died in 1993. He was in office for 28 years (1965 – 1993).
  • July 1 - The Illinois State Lottery officially starts with Ralph Batch as the First Superintendent.
  • July 30 - First Lottery tickets go on sale. 

  • Aug. 8 - First Lottery drawing for the weekly passive games is held at the State Fair in Springfield.

  • Dec. 31 - 100,000,000th Lottery ticket sold.