Issue 23 - February 7th, 2019
It's been a cold couple of weeks here in Cleveland. With windchills below zero for days at a time, you can imagine that I and the rest of the folks here at the Ohio Lottery office have been dreaming of summer sunshine and all that it brings.
This year - along with baseball, backyard barbecues, and those elusive sunny skies - summer brings with it an exciting new campaign for our industry. July 2019 tentatively marks the first annual "Lottery Week" - a weeklong celebration of lotteries across the U.S. and Canada, in recognition of the collective contributions we make in the communities we serve.
Any why not celebrate? After all, in fiscal 2018 U.S. lotteries transferred over $23.4 billion to the causes they support, up 5 percent from the year before. And Canadian lotteries delivered C$3.3 billion to their beneficiaries, up 1.1 percent from the previous year. These funds help finance educational programs, environmental conservation, economic development projects, programs for seniors, cultural activities and so much more.
And the positive impact doesn't end there. Lotteries provide jobs for hundreds of thousands of lottery employees, vendors and retailers across the continent. We team up with responsible gambling groups to educate our retailers and consumers, to help encourage safe, responsible play. We support local causes by hosting events like food drives and community clean-ups. And of course, we provide a fun, exciting source of entertainment for all of our players - not to mention some big payouts for the lucky winners.
Lottery Week is our chance to recognize these positive impacts and improve public perception and awareness.
This new holiday draws inspiration from the first ever "National Lottery Day," organized by the Massachusetts State Lottery team in 2018. Mass Lottery aimed to provide players with a day of special promotions and products, while also recognizing the Lottery as the single largest source of unrestricted local aid in the state of Massachusetts since selling its first ticket in 1972.
This year, throughout Lottery Week - with daily themes focusing on Beneficiaries, Winners, Retailers, Games and more - we're inviting our partners and players across North America to celebrate with us. And hopefully by the end of the week, we'll show a few skeptics that there's more to the lottery industry than meets the eye.
As an industry, we often find ourselves fighting - pushing to modernize our business, battling to protect states' rights, vying for a seat at the right tables. We work hard to create a positive impact in our jurisdictions and make sure our beneficiaries receive the funds they need. Let's take this opportunity to recognize that hard work and the real, significant effect it has in our communities.
You'll be hearing more on Lottery Week in the upcoming months.
For now, back to work.
Director, Ohio Lottery Commission