Colorado Lottery Celebrates 25 Years and Nearly $2 Billion Returned to State
PUEBLO – The Colorado Lottery marked its 25th anniversary Friday by announcing that it has distributed nearly $2 billion in proceeds to the state since 1983. Proceeds from Lottery ticket sales have contributed to building parks, restoring trails, preserving open space, protecting wildlife and improving recreational opportunities for citizens statewide. Thanks to Lottery dollars, Colorado remains a unique place to live and play.
“Colorado Lottery dollars have touched every corner of Colorado – from funding a skate park in the tiny town of Crowley, to developing Cheyenne Mountain State Park in Colorado Springs,” said Gov. Bill Ritter, who accepted a ceremonial $1.92 billion check from Lottery Director Peggy Gordon on the behalf of the people of Colorado on Friday. “The Lottery has created more than 366 millionaires over the past quarter century. But the real winners are Colorado businesses, communities and visitors who will reap the benefits of Lottery proceeds for generations to come.”
Colorado Lottery proceeds have reached far and wide. Lottery dollars have:
• Purchased 21,947 acres for future State Parks or for buffers and in-holdings at existing State Parks.
• Created and improved more than 1,000 community parks and outdoor recreation centers through Great Outdoors Colorado grants.
• Built, enhanced and supported maintenance of 42 State Parks, which boast 11 million visitors annually.
• Supported efforts to teach 110,000 kids to fish through the Angler Education program from the Division of Wildlife.
• Funded efforts by the Colorado Division of Wildlife to prevent the extinction of 43 species.
• Built or restored more than 700 miles of trails since 1994.
• Built or improved 162 sports fields in communities statewide with local government grants from Great Outdoors Colorado.
When the Lottery began, there were three funds designated to receive Lottery proceeds: Capital Construction, the Conservation Trust Fund and the Colorado Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation. As a result of a constitutional amendment in 1992, the proceeds formula changed to add the Great Outdoors Colorado Trust Fund (GOCO) to the group of proceeds recipients. In 1999, the proceeds formula changed again, resulting in the following distribution: up to 50 percent to GOCO; 40 percent for the Conservation Trust Fund, and 10 percent for the Colorado Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation. Any spillover after the GOCO cap is reached is distributed to the Public School Health and Safety Fund.
The Lottery has worked hard to create unique and innovative products to keep customers engaged and provide strong returns for the state. The Lottery launched sales on Jan. 24, 1983 with just one, $1 Scratch game. Today, the Lottery offers three jackpot games and more than 30 fun and innovative Scratch games at any one time. That family of products generated $486.6 million in sales in 2007. Scratch ticket sales totaled $319.2 million, while Powerball came in second with $105.2 million in sales. Lotto produced sales of $44.3 million and Cash 5 ended the year with $18.1 million in sales. Proceeds for 2007 totaled $123.3 million, providing $53.5 million for GOCO, $49.3 million for the Conservation Trust Fund, $12.3 million for State Parks and $8.2 million for the Public School Health and Safety Fund.
“The Lottery has proven to be a strong asset for the state. I expect that with its continued growth, the agency will impact the state for 25 years to come,” said Gov. Ritter.
To celebrate its 25th birthday, the Lottery is presenting a 25-week Adventure contest with FOX 31. Participants can guess the Lottery proceeds “Silver Star” of the week to win a key that could open a 27-foot camper trailer, or one of 25 weekly prizes that could net the winners more than $1 million. For details, please visit www.silvercelebration.com. The Lottery also launched a special “Silver Anniversary” Scratch ticket earlier this month, offering a 34 $25,000 top prizes. That ticket is also the first game in the Lottery’s strategy to move all second-chance drawings to Internet-only entry.