South Carolina voters approved a state lottery in November 2000 with a 54 percent majority. The South Carolina Education Lottery Act was signed into law the following spring. The Lottery began ticket sales on January 7, 2002, with four instant games: Scenic South Carolina, Carolina Riches, 3 Times Lucky and the Logo Game. Sales were so strong that the Lottery was able to repay its startup loan in February.
Just two months later, the Lottery launched its first draw game in Pick 3, followed by Carolina 5 in June and Powerball in October. Pick 4 joined the lineup in January 2003. These games propelled the South Carolina Education Lottery to the best per capita sales of any lottery startup in history, an average of $1.87 during its first year.
The Lottery’s current selection of draw games includes Powerball, Mega Millions, Palmetto Cash 5, Pick 3 and Pick 4. Also available is Add-a-Play, which offers an extra chance to win on the Lottery’s daily games.
Lottery proceeds are transferred to the Education Lottery Account. By law, revenues must be used to “supplement, not supplant, existing resources for educational purposes and programs.” Each year, the Legislature decides how lottery funds are appropriated. Lottery funds have been used to support a variety of education programs over the years, including scholarships and grants, the Endowed Chairs Program, public school support and the Allied Healthcare Initiative. Lottery revenues have also been distributed to South Carolina counties for local libraries and to programs that provide gambling addiction treatment.
Games Offered: Instant, 3-Digit, 4-Digit, 5-Digit, Powerball, Mega Millions
Year established: 2001