Georgia voters approved a lottery in November 1992 and the Georgia Lottery Corp. quickly came into being early the following year with the Lottery for Education Act. Sales began on June 29, 1993, with two instant games, Instant Cash and Georgia Millionaire. Two draw games followed in short order, Cash 3 in August and Lotto Georgia in September.
The Georgia Lottery was an instant success. First-week sales of more than 52 million tickets set a new opening week lottery sales record of $7.80 per capita. It was able to repay its startup line of credit within two weeks of launch. After just five months, the Lottery surpassed its first-year sales goal of $463 million, and ended the first full year with $1.1 billion in sales. The first-year per capita sales $164.81 set another new national record, effectively making the Georgia Lottery the most successful U.S. lottery startup in history.
The Lottery’s extensive lineup of current draw games includes Mega Millions, Powerball, Fantasy 5, Georgia FIVE, Win for Life, Decades of Dollars, KENO!, Cash 3 and Cash 4. On average some 40 to 45 instant games are on the market at any given time.
The Georgia Lottery was groundbreaking in its beneficiary formula, being the first lottery created primarily to fund scholarships for college students. While the HOPE scholarship program has been a resounding success, Lottery proceeds fund three specific programs for education in the state:
- Tuition grants, scholarships or loans to undergraduate college students for attendance at eligible Georgia colleges, universities or technical colleges.
- The Georgia Pre-kindergarten Program for all four-year-olds.
- Capital outlay projects including computer and other technological upgrades for schools, technical institutes, colleges and universities in the state.
Year established: 1993
Instant games, 3-digit game (Cash 3), 4-digit game (Cash 4), Fantasy 5, Decades of Dollars, Mega Millions, Powerball, Georgia FIVE, Win For Life, KENO!
Education - HOPE scholarships; voluntary pre-kindergarten.