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History of the Illinois Lottery: 2000 - 2010

2010

  • 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.

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2009

  • 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).

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2008

  • 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).

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2007

  • 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).

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2006

  • 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.  

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2005

  • 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 www.illinoislottery.com  
  • 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 12th state 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.

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2004

  • 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.

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2003

  • 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.

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2002

  • 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.

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2001

  • 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.

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2000

  • 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.

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