History of the Illinois Lottery: 1990 - 1999


  • 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!

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  • 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. 

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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. 

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