40 years later: Lottery pays off for state. Has it for you?

Games generated $17.7 billion in sales, $2.4 billion for education and $10.5 billion in prizes.

  • By Andrea Brown abrown@soundpublishing.com
  • Monday, July 18, 2022 2:52pm
  • NewsNorthwest
Washington’s Lottery 40th anniversary “Scratch from the Past” ticket. (Submitted photo)

Washington’s Lottery 40th anniversary “Scratch from the Past” ticket. (Submitted photo)

Lordy, lordy! Washington’s Lottery is 40.

The lottery is celebrating with a “Scratch from the Past” ticket with a top prize of $50,000, which in 1982 would have bought five new cars with quarters left over to play hours of that hot new game, Ms. Pac-Man.

Gambling has paid off for Washington’s Lottery. The past four decades have resulted in more than $17.7 billion in sales, $10.5 billion in prizes awarded and $2.4 billion for educational causes.

“Scratch from the Past” will set you back $5, which 40 years ago was equivalent to about $1.70.

The first scratch ticket, “Pot of Gold,” was $1. Washington scratch tickets now sell for up to $30. About 50 new tickets are created annually.

“Since that first ticket was sold, scratch game sales have totaled more than $10.1 billion in sales in Washington state,” lottery spokesperson Dan Miller said.

Draw games brought in over $7 billion. The prize of multi-state Mega Millions topped half a billion dollars after no ticket matched all six numbers Friday. The drawing on Tuesday for a $530 million jackpot is the game’s eighth highest to date.

The state printed 4.3 million of the anniversary “Scratch from the Past” tickets. Six have the $50,000 jackpot. Total prizes are $17,317,030 in 11 amounts, such as 87,284 winners of $50 and so on, down to the 714,377 players who will get their $5 back.

That’s 80% of the $21.6 million expected to generate in sales. Because it’s the 40th anniversary game, the lottery is paying out at a higher rate than typical games, which are normally around 67%, Miller said.

Nearly half of all adults nationwide say they have bought lottery tickets, according to a Gallup Poll.

There’s a lot that goes into producing a scratch ticket — research, trends, accounting, packaging, delivering.

Over the years, the lottery has come up with hundreds of different scratch themes to entice people to part with their money.

Remember the ones that smelled like bacon a few years ago?

About 2.1 million “Bring Home the Bacon” scratch and sniff tickets were printed.

The “Scratch from the Past” ticket has a neon, ’80s retro design and, fortunately, is not scented like sloppy joes.

“For the year when the CD player was introduced and Thriller was the #1 song, it’s especially ‘thrilling’ to have created this cool, new ticket that’s sure to remind players of the time when leg warmers, big hair, mullets and anything neon ruled the scene,” Marcus Glasper, director of Washington’s Lottery, said in a press release.

Do we really want to be reminded?

Contact Everett Herald writer Andrea Brown: 425-339-3443; abrown@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @reporterbrown.

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