Illinois Lottery History

Illinois Lotto History

The Illinois Lottery is a trailblazing state lotto which was introduced with a bang and has led the way in state lottery trends since its inception. It has seen many “firsts” when it comes to state and national lottos, and continues to lead the way in the lotto world almost 40 years after its first draw.

The Illinois Lottery was first established back in July 1974, back when US lotteries were restricted to the Northeast and Midwest areas. The first ever draw was held on August 8th 1974 and on October 3rd 1974 the jackpot reached $1 million for the first time. The largest jackpot ever won in US history was won on the Illinois Lottery on April 15 1989, and was worth a staggering $69.9 million – dwarfing all previous jackpots until that point.


The Lotto has undergone various changes since its inception in 1974 to keep up with the markets, adapt to changes with lottery regulations and to offer multi-state lotteries such as Powerball. Key dates on the Illinois Lottery included the introduction of the Quick Pick option in February 1984, plus the change of the matrix from 6/48 to its current 6/52 in April 1999. However, the Illinois Lotto is best known for being the first jurisdiction to sell lottery tickets online, and saw its first internet lottery ticket sales on March 25th 2012.

Today, the Illinois Lotto has a minimum jackpot of £2 million and is played three evenings a week – Monday, Thursday and Saturday at 21.22 CST, and its constant popularity is proved as it is the only state lotto to be broadcast on state television channels. Profits generated by the lotto still go towards the Common School Fund today, just as they were shortly after the start of the lotto.