The Ohio Lottery History and Facts

History and Facts

A Brief History of the Ohio Lottery

1971 -- Ohio State Senator Ron Mottl spearheads a campaign to create a lottery in Ohio.

1973 -- Voters approve State Issue 1 by a 2-to-1 margin, creating the Ohio Lottery Commission.

1974 -- The Lottery's first game, Buckeye 300, goes on sale in August. Omar Watts is the first Ohio Lottery millionaire.

Originally, a five-member board oversaw  Lottery operations.  In 1980, the Executive Director was given direct control over daily operations.  A nine-member Commission, appointed by the Governor, serves in an advisory capacity.

1983 -- In July, the Ohio Legislature earmarks Lottery profits for education.

Ohio Lotto, Ohio's first lotto game, goes on sale in April.

1987 -- In November, voters approve a constitutional amendment to permanently earmark Lottery profits for education.

On Feb. 7, the Lottery debuts the Cash Explosion TV show.

1988 -- House Bill 789 is passed in March, creating the Lottery Profits Education Fund. This allows for a clear separation of Lottery revenue from the State's General Revenue Fund.

1992 -- The Lottery launches Buckeye 5, a 5/37 mini lotto game with a $100,000 top prize.

1997 -- The Lottery transfers a record $748.5 million to the Lottery Profits Education Fund (FY '97).

1999 -- The Lottery's first midday drawings take place on August 16.

The Lottery runs its first Pick 3 Red Ball promotion, providing Pick 3 winners a prize boost of about 20 percent when the "red ball" is drawn after the Pick 3 drawing.

2002 -- The Ohio Lottery joins the multi-state lottery game, Mega Millions. Ohio sells its first ticket May 15. The first drawing is held May 17.

2003 -- Rebecca Jemison of South Euclid becomes Ohio's first Mega Millions jackpot winner. She wins the $162 million jackpot prize drawn on Dec. 30.

2004 -- Eric Maxwell of Dayton becomes Ohio's second big Mega Millions  winner, claiming the $20 million jackpot prize drawn March 2.

The Play it Again feature for draw games is added Oct. 3. This feature allows retailers to create a new ticket with identical wager information off another ticket by scanning its Play it Again barcode.

The Lottery releases Rolling Cash 5, a new mini lotto game, on Oct. 3. The first drawing is held Oct. 4, with jackpots starting at $100,000 and increasing by at least $10,000, based on sales. The game replaces Buckeye 5.

2005 -- The Ohio Lottery introduces the new lotto game, Lot 'O Play, replacing Super Lotto Plus. With 12 ways to win, Lot 'O Play is the first game of its kind in the U.S.

2006 – The Ohio Lottery holds its first Raffle to Riches drawing on Sept. 4, selling 500,000 tickets during the months of August and September. The Lottery draws 509 winning raffle ticket numbers, with four top prizes of $1 million.

2007 – Sunday drawings begin May 20.

In August, the Ohio Lottery starts the Partners in Education program, recognizing outstanding students and teachers, K thru 12, with Academic All Star and Teacher of the Month awards.

The Lottery launches Ten-OH! on Aug. 4. Players choose 10 numbers out of 80. The Lottery chooses 20 numbers. Players win by matching 5 to 10 numbers or no numbers at all.

The Lottery holds its first New Year's Raffle, with a drawing held Dec. 31. The drawing includes four  $1-million prizes; two $100,000 cash prizes; 500 prizes of $500; and 5,500 instant win prizes of $100.

2008 -- EZPLAY Games,  instant play-style games that print through a Lottery terminal, make their debut April 14 with the release of $1 Tic Tac Toe and $2 Bingo. 

On Aug. 5, the Ohio Lottery introduces KENO in bars, taverns and other outlets that meet specific requirements to sell the game.  Players can win up to $100,000 on a $1 wager, matching up to 10 of their numbers to 20 winning numbers drawn from a pool of 80. Ohio joins 12 other states selling KENO.

2010 -- Powerball ticket sales begin in Ohio on April 16.  Ohio participates in its first Powerball drawing April 17.

Ohio sells its first winning ticket for the Powerball jackpot.  The winning ticket, worth $261.6 million, was drawn June 2.  The ticket, claimed in trust, was sold by Hub Carryout in Sunbury. 

2011 -- On January 14, the Lottery holds KICKER's final drawing in conjunction with Mega Millions. KICKER was first introduced in 1988 as a "spiel" (add-on) game to Super Lotto and had been an add-on game to Mega Millions since October 2005. 

On Jan. 15, Megaplier joins Mega Millions as a prize enhancement option that costs $1 per wager.  Ohio's first Mega Millions drawing with Megaplier is held Jan. 18.

2012 -- On Jan. 15, tickets go on sale for the new Powerball game.  In the revised matrix, players choose five numbers from a pool of 59, and they choose their Powerball number from a pool of 35.  The updated game provides for more million dollar winners, improves overall odds and raises the starting jackpot to $40 million, at a cost of $2 per wager.  The first drawing is Jan. 18.

The $656 million Mega Millions jackpot drawn March 30 sets a new world record.  The jackpot prize is hit in Illinois, Kansas and Maryland.  The Ohio Lottery has 10 winners of the $250,000 second-tier prize.

On April 9, the Lottery gives all licensed lottery retailers the ability to sell KENO.

On April 29, KICKER returns, joining Classic Lotto.  The first Classic Lotto with KICKER drawing is held April 30.

On June 1, Scioto Downs opens its VLT facility as a licensed video lottery retailer.

Ten-OH!s last drawing is held Aug. 11.

The first drawing for PICK 5 is held on August 12.

2013 -- The Lottery introduces Perfect Game 300, the Ohio Lottery’s first EZPLAY® Game with a progressive jackpot.  Cost is $2 a ticket; jackpots start at $2,500.

On April 9, the ThistleDown Racino opens as a licensed video lottery retailer.

Facts

  • Total number of employees: 345 (as of July 2013).
  • Lottery start-up date: August 1974 (Weekly game).
  • How it was created: Legislative action and voter referendum, May 1973.
  • Governing Department: Self-sustaining branch.
  • Director reports to Governor.
  • Governmental relationship: Director and nine-member commission appointed by Governor.
  • Budget approval through Office of Budget and Management and Ohio General Assembly; Commission serves in an advisory capacity.
  • Ohio Lottery national rankings (FY12): 9th in overall sales; 9th in instant game sales.
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