In one of the strongest majority results in New Jersey political history, a lottery was approved by a whopping 81.5 percent of voters in November 1969. Under the direction of Ralph Batch, the New Jersey Lottery began ticket sales on December 16, 1970, with a 50 cent weekly passive game simply called The Weekly.
A 5-digit daily game was introduced in November 1972, and its first instant game, 7-11-21, went on sale in June 1975. The Lottery’s major contribution to the industry came in May 1975, with the unveiling of the country’s first computerized lottery system allowing players to actually choose their own numbers. That first draw game, Pick-It, became Pick 3, and it set the stage for all future American numbers games.
Pick 4 followed in June 1977, and the Lottery’s first lotto game, Pick-6 Lotto, began in May 1980. These two games are still in the product mix today, which also includes Powerball, Mega Millions, Pick 3 and Jersey Cash 5. For an extra $1, players can add Instant Match to any of the daily games for an extra instant-win opportunity.
Always the innovator, the Lottery’s first game with an Internet play component was introduced in February 2004, Cyber Slingo.
New Jersey Lottery proceeds benefit education and institutions in the state, and revenues are distributed to the Department of Education, the Department of Human Services, the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, the School Nutrition Program and the Marie Katzenbach
School for the Deaf. Some of the many programs which have benefitted from lottery revenues include the operation of centers for the developmentally disabled, state psychiatric hospitals and
homes for veterans; higher education tuition and grants; and aid to colleges and universities.
Year established: 1970
Products offered: Instant games, 3-digit game, 4-digit game, cash lotto (matrix: 5/40), lotto (matrix: 6/49), Mega Millions, Powerball.
Beneficiaries: Education and Institutions