In 1994, New Mexico voters passed a constitutional amendment approving both a lottery and video gambling. The state’s Supreme Court struck down the amendment because it combined ballot questions, but after legislative changes a lottery bill was passed in April 1995.
Ticket sales began April 27, 1996, with two scratch games, the $1 Match 3 and the $2 Big Fun, Big Help. During the first eight days of operation, some 8.3 million tickets were sold, generating $10.6 million in sales. Less than three months later, the New Mexico Lottery repaid in full the $2.8 million in Lottery Revenue Bonds used for the startup.
The Lottery’s first draw game was Powerball, which debuted in October 1996. Another MUSL game, Daily Millions, joined the lineup in February 1997. A year later, Roadrunner Cash became the first game sold exclusively in New Mexico.
Current draw games offered by the New Mexico Lottery include Powerball, Mega Millions, Roadrunner Cash, Hot Lotto and Pick 3. Also available are Quicksters, instant games that are played through retail terminals.
In January 2011, the Lottery had some fun with its Lucky Dog Photo Contest, the first time a scratch ticket was inspired by players. Dog owners could submit photos through the Lottery’s website, where players voted for their favorites. Six of the top 25 vote-getters where chosen to adorn the game’s tickets.
In the beginning, Lottery proceeds were divided between the Public School Capital Outlay Fund (60 percent) and the Lottery Tuition Fund (40 percent). Legislation in 2000 changed the split to 50/50, and beginning June 15, 2001, the Tuition Fund was given 100 percent of Lottery profits. Legislative Lottery Scholarships help provide tuition to New Mexico residents who want to attend a New Mexico public college or university.
Year Established: 1996
Products Offered: Scratchers, Powerball, Mega Millions, Hot Lotto, Roadrunner Cash (5-digit game), and Pick 3
(Until June 15, 2001) College Scholarship Tuition Fund 50%, Public School Capital Outlay Fund 50%.
As of June 15, 2001: College Scholarship Tuition Fund - 100%