Frequently Asked Questions

At its core, the Colorado Lottery is a conservation organization. In fact, it's the only Lottery in the country dedicated to funding the great outdoors. Since 1983, the Colorado Lottery has given more than $4 billion back to parks, trails, open spaces and recreation projects across the state. Profits from the sale of Lottery games in the state are distributed to voter-selected beneficiaries who use those funds to preserve and protect Colorado.

Where does the money go?

All profits from the sale of all Colorado Lottery products, including Powerball, Mega Millions, Colorado Lotto+, Lucky for Life, Cash 5, Pick 3 and Scratch are distributed to the Lottery's proceeds recipients: Great Outdoors Colorado, Conservation Trust Fund and Colorado Parks and Wildlife (with spillover funds from GOCO going to the Building Excellent Schools Today [BEST] fund.).

Why doesn't it go to schools, scholarships, me, etc.?

In 1992 Colorado's citizens voted to commit Lottery proceeds to outdoor recreation, parks, trails, rivers, wildlife, and open space.

Who are the Colorado Lottery's conservation partners?

Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO)

Great Outdoors Colorado funds projects that impact communities across the state. The Colorado Lottery is GOCO's only funding source and provides GOCO with 50 percent of its proceeds, up to a $35 million cap in 1992 dollars, adjusted for inflation. If this percentage exceeds the adjusted cap, the remainder is distributed to the State Public School Capital Construction Assistance Fund. In FY21, the distribution to GOCO was $71.7 million.

Department of Local Affairs (DOLA), Administration of the Converation Trust fund (CTF)

The Conservation Trust Fund receives 40 percent of Lottery proceeds. Local parks and recreation providers receive money from the Conservation Trust Fund in proportion to their population so that every town, city, county and special district in Colorado benefits. The Lottery distributed more than $67.7 million to the fund in FY21 for open space and land acquisition, equipment purchases, facility development, park maintenance and renovation or restoration of local facilities.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife

Colorado Parks and Wildlife receives 10 percent of Lottery proceeds and also receives Lottery spillover funds once the GOCO cap is met. Colorado's 42 state parks use Lottery money for trail construction and maintenance, land acquisition, equipment and facility purchases and maintenance of state parks facilities. Lottery funding improves the state park experience for more than 12 million annual visitors. The Lottery distributed approximately $16.9 million in FY21 to Colorado Parks & Wildlife before spillover funds.

Colorado Lottery Spillover Funds

The Colorado Lottery's total spillover funds for FY21 totaled more than $12.9 million. The BEST program (Building Excellent Schools Today) received the first $3 million in Lottery spillover funds, which pays for capital construction on public schools. To date, BEST has received nearly $109 million from the Lottery to enhance schools across the state. Visit BEST.

In addition, the Outdoor Equity Fund received $750,000 and remaining spillover funds were distributed in the following amounts:

  • An additional $4.6 million to BEST (50%)
  • $2.3 million to the Wildlife Cash Fund (25%)
  • $2.3 million to the Parks & Outdoor Recreation Fund (25%)
Does any money go to the State Park system?

Yes. Colorado Parks and Wildlife receives 10% of the Lottery's annual proceeds to distribute throughout their agency.

Does money go to handicap-accessible parks and trails?

There are many ADA-accessible parks and trails that have been funded with Lottery proceeds. Check out for a site near you.

Is someone available to come speak to our group about the Lottery and where the money goes?

Yes! If you are interested in having someone speak to your group about the Lottery, please email our Communications team at

Can I get free Lottery tickets, water bottles, hats, etc. for my non-profit or social group?

Unfortunately, no. The Lottery is a government agency, and we are not able to donate free items to many good causes such as yours. We do apologize. It is a rule that Lottery proceeds go to parks, trails, and the outdoors in Colorado. We have to make sure that any sponsored events or giveaways have a direct proceeds or Lottery retailer tie-in. As you can imagine, our inventory and budget is planned by the Department of Revenue in advance, and it is frequently audited. But we appreciate you thinking of us.

Can I recommend a project to receive Lottery funding?

The Colorado Lottery does not determine where proceeds funding goes. As funds are allocated via different agencies and to different local entities, it is advised that interested citizens contact their local municipalities to learn about the process for requesting projects. For example, if you are interested in pursuing a local park, please contact your local parks and recreation department.

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