Idaho voters approved a state lottery twice – first in 1986 and again in 1988, after the first vote was declared unconstitutional. An initiative had placed the issue on the ballot in 1986, and the state Supreme Court declared that an initiative could not amend the Idaho constitution. In 1988, the legislature authorized the lottery vote and again the people approved, although by a much narrower margin – just 51 percent compared to 60 percent in 1988.
When the first Idaho Lottery ticket was sold on July 19, 1989, it set a new record at the time for the quickest lottery implementation in the industry – under 200 days. More than 840,000 tickets were sold that first day.
More than 1,000 different scratch games have been sold since the lottery’s launch. Pulltabs were added to the product mix in 1991.
The Lottery’s first draw game was the multistate Idaho Super Lotto/Lotto*America, introduced February 1, 1990. Later that year Idaho Fantastic 5 became the first Idaho-only draw game. The Lottery’s current lineup includes Powerball, Mega Millions, Hot Lotto Sizzler, Wild Card 2, Weekly Grand and Pick 3.
In 2000, the Idaho Lottery began the first American lottery to launch a players’ club with the debut of its VIP Club. The club offers rewards and incentives for purchasing lottery products, and members get a variety of special perks and promotions.
The Idaho Lottery’s mission is to responsibly provide entertaining games with a high degree of integrity in order to maximize the dividends for public schools and buildings. Historically, Lottery proceeds are shared by Idaho’s Public School Building Account and the Permanent Building Fund. A statute change in 2009, which sunsets in 2014, sets aside a portion of Lottery funds above the base fiscal year funding level of $34 million for the Bond Levy Equalization Fund.
Year established: 1989
Products offered: Scratch™ Games, Idaho Pick 3, Double Play Daily, Powerball, Mega Millions, Wild Card, Hot Lotto Sizzler, Weekly Grand, PullTabs, Idaho $1,000,000 Raffle, Pool Party
Beneficiaries: Idaho Public Schools & Idaho Permanent Building Fund