As most Illinois schools have headed ‘back to school’ in one form or another in the past few weeks, the Illinois Lottery is announcing returns of $762 million to the Common School Fund to support K-12 education across the state of Illinois.
“Schools across the state are facing unprecedented challenges, adjusting to both remote learning and in-person learning during a pandemic. Now more than ever, our teachers and students need resources, tools, and financial support,” said Acting Lottery Director Harold Mays.
“The Illinois Lottery, with the help of its players and retailers, generates essential funding to support education in Illinois, and I’m proud to announce returns of $762 million to the Common School Fund during the 2021 fiscal year.”
Despite the ongoing challenges faced by the pandemic, the Lottery experienced record-setting sales this fiscal year. Lottery players bought $2.2 billion worth of scratch tickets and over $1.2 billion in draw-based games.
With the addition of many new players, digital sales through the Illinois Lottery website and app doubled over the previous year and total lottery sales grew by 21%.
“Our retail network of over 7,000 stores continues to play a critical role in the Lottery’s success. With a historic Mega Millions and Powerball jackpot run in January leading to over $1.5 billion in jackpots, our retailers had their hands full keeping up with the demand for tickets,” said Mays.
During the year, Illinois Lottery players from Jo Daviess County to Alexander County won over $2.3 billion in prizes, including the largest prize claimed in Illinois since 2017 – a $56 million Mega Millions jackpot won by a lucky player in Crestwood.
In total, 52 players claimed prizes of $1 million or more during the year – that’s a new millionaire every week for a year, thanks to the Illinois Lottery!
“And our retailers are winners too, with retailers earning over $186 million in commission during the year – including a $500,000 bonus commission check to the retailer who sold the winning ticket for the $56 million Mega Millions jackpot,” said Mays.
Camelot Illinois, the private manager of the Illinois Lottery, paid tribute to key partners across the State that enabled these positive results.
“Thanks to the efforts of our retailers, the strength of our technology, and an expansion of game opportunities bringing new players on board, the Lottery delivered exceptional results for the State of Illinois,” said Keith Horton, Camelot Illinois General Manager and General Counsel.
“We’d also like to acknowledge the leadership of the team at the Governor’s Office and key State agencies for helping Illinois navigate through exceptionally challenging circumstances, providing support to residents and retailers. As a result, the Lottery was able to remain operational throughout, generating essential funding for education at a time when it is needed most.”
“With a focus on offering great games, compelling advertising, an expansive retail network, and a modern digital offering, the Illinois Lottery continues to be a stable and essential source of funding for schools and good causes across the State,” Horton added.
The 2021 Financial Year runs from July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021. The Lottery’s final Net Income figure for FY21 is estimated to be $779 million, which is still to be audited and confirmed. Additional funding over the amount to the Common School Fund will be returned to the Capital Projects Fund.