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The Lottery’s Commitment to Funding K-12 Education in Illinois

When people play the Lottery, it’s a win for our state. The Illinois Lottery provides critical funding to K-12 public schools across Illinois every year. In fact, for 35 years, since 1985, Lottery players have generated more than $21 billion for education funding in Illinois. 


Serving Teachers and Students Throughout the State

When you play the Lottery, it’s a win for the 2 million public school students and their families in Illinois. Last year, the total was $731 million for education, money that would not have to come from some other source. About a quarter of every dollar played on the Lottery goes to schools and other good causes. 

Learn how every time you buy a Lottery ticket it’s a win for our schools.


How the Lottery Supports Education in Your Community

The Illinois Lottery provides more than $700 million to the State’s Common School Fund to support K-12 education throughout Illinois. To see what that means in your community, CLICK HERE. First, find the county you live in, then look for your local school district. From there, you can see what was sent in Fiscal Year 2019 to the Common School Fund, how much each school district received in Common School Fund funding and what the Illinois Lottery’s share of that funding was.

To learn more about how education funding works in Illinois, visit the Illinois State Board of Education website.

Education and the Illinois Lottery FAQs

Where does Illinois Lottery money go?

By law, revenue from the sale of Illinois Lottery tickets and games is used for prizes, operating costs and contributions to education funding and other good causes in Illinois.

In Fiscal Year 2019, nearly $2 billion was paid in prizes to Illinois Lottery winners, $754 million went to fund public education, capital projects and other good causes, $165 million went to Illinois Lottery retailers for commissions and selling bonuses and $154 million went to operating costs.

How does the Lottery help fund public education in Illinois?

State law requires the Illinois Lottery to direct most of its net proceeds to the Common School Fund to support kindergarten through 12th-grade education in Illinois public schools. 

Since 1985, the Illinois Lottery has transferred more than $21 billion to the Common School Fund. In Fiscal Year 2019, the Illinois Lottery’s contribution to the Common School Fund was $731 million. 

Wasn’t the Lottery supposed to fully fund schools?

It is a common misconception that the Illinois Lottery was created in 1974 to fully fund education in Illinois. In fact, Illinois Lottery net proceeds were not directed to help fund schools until 1985. Before that, Illinois Lottery proceeds went to the General Revenue Fund as a source of revenue for the Regional Transit Authority.

In 1985, legislation was signed into law directing Illinois Lottery proceeds to the Common School Fund. Although the Lottery sends money to the Common School Fund, it is not and never was intended to be the sole source of education funding.

According to the Illinois Comptroller, state education funding and other major state educational grant programs are paid through the General Revenue Fund, the Education Assistance Fund, the Common School Fund and the Fund for the Advancement of Education. 

To learn more about how education funding works in Illinois, visit the Illinois State Board of Education website.

What does the Illinois Lottery’s contribution mean to education funding?

Of the $6.8 billion in education funding the state appropriated in the Fiscal Year 2019, $731 million – or nearly 11% – came from the Illinois Lottery. The Lottery’s Fiscal Year 2019 contribution to public education funding is equal to about $2 million a day for Illinois public schools.

Players Like You Raised $754 Million for Good Causes

To find out how playing the Lottery gives you a chance to dream big while supporting communities across Illinois, please visit Where the Money Goes.