About the Illinois Lottery
The Illinois Lottery began July 1, 1974 amid great excitement across the state. During its first years, it sold "passive" games via weekly drawings. First year sales topped $129 million. Sales faltered in subsequent years, after the novelty of the Lottery wore off, prompting some to call for an end to the Lottery. In 1980 the first terminal game, Pick 3, was introduced. Pick 3 breathed new life into the Lottery, tallying sales of $164 million during its first full year of operation.
Lottery profits initially went to the State's General Revenue Fund, until legislation was passed in 1985 earmarking profits for the Common School Fund, which is still the Lottery's major benefactor. 2006 saw the first "specialty instant games" launched; these games benefit a particular cause like Illinois Veterans, the fight against breast cancer, MS research, and assistance for people living with HIV-Aids. In 2010, the Lottery began contributing to the Capitol Projects Fund, which helps build and renovate state roads and bridges.
In fiscal year 2012, the Common School Fund received $639.8 million; the Capitol Projects Fund received $65.2 million; while four specialty instant games raised nearly $1 million for each of their respective causes. All told, through fiscal 2012, the Lottery has contributed $17.5 billion to good causes.
The Lottery has been an independent, cabinet-level department for most of its history, although it operated under the Department of Revenue (DoR) on two separate occasions. Most recently, the Lottery separated from DoR on October 15, 2011. It has a current operating budget of about $30 million a year and employs 152 people, including 80 employees who take their direction from the Lottery's private manager, Northstar Lottery Group. With Northstar's assistance, the Lottery launched an internet sales pilot project for Lotto and Mega Millions on March 25, 2012, when it became the first US lottery to sell tickets on the internet.
The Lottery operates under the direction of its Director, Michael J. Jones, and is assisted by the Lottery Control Board. It operates from locations in Chicago, Springfield, Des Plaines, Rockford and Fairview Heights.
Lottery Statutes and Rules
Learn more about our governing statutes and rules.
Find all the information you’ll need on Illinois Lottery financials including Illinois Lottery securities, locally held funds, Illinois Lottery private management, sales and expenses.
Both the Illinois Lottery and its private manager, Northstar Lottery Group, LLC provide opportunities to do business in support of the Illinois Lottery. Learn more about current procurement opportunities and links to forms you’ll need to apply.
Press & Media Center
We’ve got news to share! Take a moment to read our past and new press releases.
The Illinois Lottery has a rich history! Learn more about the history of the Illinois Lottery from the date the first tickets went on sale.
If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out and contact us. We’re happy to hear from you.