THE LOTTERY AT 30: Doubted by some in the beginning, Hoosier Lottery stands the test of time

in Lottery

Through fiscal year 2019, the Hoosier Lottery had transferred more than $6 billion to the state of Indiana, including contributions of $887.6 million to the Teachers’ Retirement Fund, $699.7 million to local police and firefighters’ pension funds and $4.4 billion to the Build Indiana Fund. Sarah M. Taylor, executive director of the Hoosier Lottery, said in a news release that the lottery’s impact on Indiana over the last 30 years has been significant. “We are so proud of the revenue we’ve generated for the state, and that our revenue is being used to support the pension plans for our retired teachers, police officers and firefighters,” Taylor said. 

HANCOCK COUNTY — Cam Cole just turned 18 and decided he’d exercise one of adulthood’s rights. At Leo’s Market & Eatery in Greenfield on Thursday, he bought his first lottery ticket.

He stopped in while his parents pumped gas outside, he said as he held his Double the Money scratch-off ticket.

“I thought this would be fun to show them,” he said.

Cole wasn’t the only one experiencing an age milestone. So, too, was the producer of the ticket he held, as the Hoosier Lottery recently turned 30.

In November 1988, Indiana voters approved a lottery referendum with a 62% majority. With tepid support from lawmakers representing Hancock County, the Indiana General Assembly ratified the Lottery Act six months later, and Gov. Evan Bayh signed it into law. Scratch-off sales began in October 1989, and more than 8 million tickets were sold on the first day. Three decades on, the state lottery continues providing players with a pastime while doling out money to winners and causes.

Former state Sen. Beverly Gard, R-Greenfield, had just joined the legislature when the lottery came up for a vote. The district she represented had opted heavily in favor of it during the referendum, she recalled.

“I felt an obligation in representing my constituents to vote in favor of it,” Gard said.

After 30 years, the games have assimilated in Indiana, she continued.

“You just get used to things,” she said. “Most states around us have lotteries. I never voted for any other gaming the rest of the time I was there. I have to admit that (the lottery has) allowed the state to do some things that it wouldn’t have been able to do without the revenue from the lottery. A lot of it has gone back into local communities for local projects and that sort of thing.”

Through fiscal year 2019, the Hoosier Lottery had transferred more than $6 billion to the state of Indiana, including contributions of $887.6 million to the Teachers’ Retirement Fund, $699.7 million to local police and firefighters’ pension funds and $4.4 billion to the Build Indiana Fund.

Sarah M. Taylor, executive director of the Hoosier Lottery, said in a news release that the lottery’s impact on Indiana over the last 30 years has been significant.

“We are so proud of the revenue we’ve generated for the state, and that our revenue is being used to support the pension plans for our retired teachers, police officers and firefighters,” Taylor said. “These dedicated Hoosiers educated our children and protected our lives and property. We hope that our support helps them enjoy their retirement for years to come.”

Taylor added lottery revenue has also been used to fund a 50% reduction in the auto excise taxes paid by Hoosiers when renewing license plates.

Hoosier Lottery players have bought $23 billion in lottery products and have won $13.9 billion in prizes from its games, which include big-draw contests like the Hoosier Lotto and Cash 5.

After those inaugural scratch-off sales more than 30 years ago, the state lottery system’s first three draw games started in 1990. The Hoosier Lottery began multi-state jackpot game sales later that same year.

There’s been a profusion ever since, and the system currently offers eight draw games, 70 scratch-off contests and 19 fast play challenges.

In Hancock County, Hoosier Lottery proceeds totaled more than $11 million for fiscal year 2018, including $3.6 million in Build Indiana Fund payments, $54,490 to police and firefighters pensions, $361,520 to the Teachers’ Retirement Fund, $6.2 million to winners and almost $850,000 to retailers.

Big winners in Hancock County over the years include $1.7 million from Ultimate Triple 777 to a McCordsville resident last year and a $540,937 share each to two Greenfield residents that were part of an overall $9.5 million Hoosier Lotto prize in 2013. Also that year, a New Palestine resident won $1 million from the $100 million Cash Extravaganza. The year before, a Shirley resident won $1 million from Lucky Millionaire. A Greenfield resident won $2 million from Casino Royale in 2009; another Greenfield resident won $500,000 from the $500,000 Gold Rush that same year and yet another Greenfield resident won $1 million from Winner Wonderland in 2008. In 2007, two New Palestine residents won $500,000 each from Wild 10’s and Golden Ticket, respectively.

Like Gard, former state Rep. Ray Richardson, R-Greenfield, was in office for the lottery’s inception. While he did not support it, he voted for it for the same reason Gard did — the majority of his constituents wanted it.

“I was still not in favor of it, but the people spoke and so I voted yes,” he said.

His feelings on the lottery have not changed.

“It’s such a bad deal for people who buy those tickets because all sorts of nasty things happen to them when they buy a ticket,” Richardson said. He added most players spend far more than they win and the odds of winning large amounts are very much not in players’ favor.

Lee Pope, New Palestine, acknowledged that latter point at Leo’s Market & Eatery on Thursday after adding a couple $1 scratch-off tickets to the rest of his items.

“I’ve never had any luck,” he said, describing his recent lottery purchase as random and likely the only tickets he’s bought in the past couple years. “The thing was right there and I just thought I’d give it a shot.”

Michael Null, Greenfield, said he plays the lottery about once or twice a week.

“It’s cheap, and you can pretty much make some good money off it,” he said.

Thursday was not his lucky day at Leo’s, however, as the Wild Cherry Crossword scratch-off ticket he brought in to be checked turned out not to be a winner.

Richardson said he’s also not fond of the lottery because the few who do win large amounts have to receive their money in small portions over many years. If they want it all at once, they have to accept a significantly reduced amount, he added.

He believes many who play the lottery can’t afford to, making it a regressive tax.

“You can tell 30 years later I still have a lot of emotion,” Richardson said.

He said he recognizes at least some of the money the lottery brings in goes to good causes, however, like public employee pension and retirement funds.

As Lori Lawson, Greenfield, headed out of Leo’s on Thursday with her Multiply the Money and Cash Explosion tickets, she said she plays the lottery every day. She’s had a little success over the years, she continued, but never anything massive.

“It’s something to do with my time,” she said, “some sort of satisfaction.”

By the numbers

Hoosier Lottery proceeds fiscal year 2018

Hancock County

Build Indiana Fund: $3,609,863

Police and firefighters’ pensions: $54,490

Teachers’ retirement fund: $361,520

Payments to winners: $6,255,754

Payments to retailers: $848,443

Total: $11,130,070

Statewide

Build Indiana Fund: $253,833,257

Police and firefighters’ pensions: $30 million

Teachers’ retirement fund: $30 million

Payments to winners: $739,581,180

Payments to retailers: $84,750,066

Total: $1,138,164,503

Since the lottery’s inception in 1989 through June 2018

Payments to winners: $13 billion

Payments to retailers: $1.5 billion

Transfers to state: $5.7 billion

Build Indiana Fund: $4.2 billion

Teachers’ retirement fund: $857.6 million

Police and firefighters’ pensions: $699.7 million

Help America Vote Act (in 2004): $1.8 million

Source: Hoosier Lottery

History of the Hoosier Lottery

1988

Lottery referendum approved with 62% of vote

1989

Legislature ratifies the Lottery Act

Lottery sells first ticket on Oct. 13

Hoosier Millionaire TV show debuts on Oct. 28

Marilyn Bonavita of Indianapolis becomes first “Hoosier Millionaire on Dec. 2

1990

First draw game (Lotto Cash – later Hoosier Lotto) begins on April 30

Daily 3 and Daily 4 draw games begin on July 2

First multi-state jackpot game sales begin on Oct. 14 (Lotto America – later renamed Powerball)

Hoosier Lottery becomes a sponsor of the Indiana State Fair

1992

Hoosier retailer sells first Powerball jackpot winning ticket in first Powerball drawing

Bar-coded scratch-off tickets introduced allowing redemption at any retailer

1994

First $5 Scratch-off ticket

1997

hoosierlottery.com website launched

1998

First $10 scratch-off ticket

Powerball ticket purchased in Richmond wins record $295.7 million

2001

Random number generators introduced for draw games

2005

“Hoosier Millionaire Grand Finale Show” airs

2007

Player from East Chicago claims record Hoosier Lotto prize of $54.5 million

2009

First NFL-themed scratch-off ticket “$100,000 Colts Cash” introduced

Total Powerball jackpot winnings in Indiana top $1 billion

2010

Second multi-state jackpot game, Mega Millions, begins selling in Indiana

2011

Lottery relocates headquarters to 1302 N. Meridian St. from Pan Am Plaza

2012

Hoosier Lottery contracts with GTECH Indiana (now IGT Indiana) for game development, product distribution, sales and marketing services

2014

Lottery receives Level 3 Responsible Gaming Certification from the World Lottery Association

25th Anniversary “Hoosier Millionaire” statewide tour

Lottery tops $1 billion in sales

Lottery app launched

2015

Lottery makes national television when Jimmy Kimmel discusses new scratch-and-sniff “Bringin Home the Bacon” ticket

Recyclable lottery tickets introduced

“The Voice” television talent show winner Josh Kaufman records song for Lottery’s Holiday ticket promotion

2016

Hoosier Lottery receives Level 4 Responsible Gaming Certification from the World Lottery Association

Mega Millions jackpot of $536.3 million won by Hoosier with ticket purchased in Cambridge City

Indy 500 scratch-off ticket launched for the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500

2017

Winning Powerball jackpot ticket sold at Lafayette convenience store with prize of $456.7 million

Indiana has 39th Powerball jackpot winner – the most of the 43 lotteries selling Powerball

Hoosier Lottery becomes the first lottery in North America to launch a lottery ticket consisting of both a scratch-off and a draw game (Black Pearl)

2018

Hoosier Lottery receives Level 4 Responsible Gaming Re-certification by the World Lottery Association

Annual surplus revenue transfer from the lottery to the state exceeds $300 million

2019

Total revenue transfers to the state since 1989 top $6 billion

Source: Hoosier Lottery

http://www.greenfieldreporter.com/2020/01/18/the_lottery_at_30_doubted_by_some_in_the_beginning_hoosier_lottery_stands_the_test_of_time/