Today, Washington’s Lottery celebrates 35 years of inspiring Washington’s imagination. The first Washington’s Lottery ticket was sold on November 15, 1982. More than three decades later, Washington’s Lottery continues to provide people with innovative, fun games and generate revenue to benefit people and communities across the state.
“Since 1982, Washington’s Lottery has paid more than $8.4 billion in prizes to winners across the state and retailers have made $856.2 million in sales commissions,” said Kathi Patnode, Marketing Operations Manager for Washington’s Lottery. “In addition to that, we’ve generated more than $3 billion to support important state programs such as the Washington Opportunity Pathways Account, helping students achieve their higher education dreams. Those numbers are something to celebrate and we look forward to many more years serving the people of Washington.”
The Early Days
The first lottery ticket was a $1 “Pot of Gold” Scratch ticket that offered a $1 million top prize. In those early days, there was only one Scratch game available at a time. The second game, the $1 “Washington Doubler” ticket, began selling very soon after.
Licensed Scratch tickets allow Washington’s Lottery to introduce popular themes and brands to the player community. The very first licensed game was “Instant Monopoly,” introduced in 1994. The first Seahawks-related Scratch ticket was introduced in 2009.
A History of Memorable Winners
Washington has a history of big wins and memorable winners. Just two months after Mega Millions was introduced in Washington, a man from Hoquiam purchased the winning ticket for a $93 million Mega Millions jackpot. The winner and his wife came to Olympia to collect their prize and shared their down-to-earth plans to support their local food bank, find other opportunities to pay it forward, and maybe even buy a home for their retirement. This was the largest jackpot for a Washington winner at that time.
Some of Washington’s other giant jackpot winners include:
- $190 million Mega Millions winner from Ephrata in 2011 (this win was half a $350 million jackpot, shared with a winner from Idaho). The couple picked numbers based on their combined birthdays. They had 23 grandchildren and a history of paying it forward in their community.
- $157 million Mega Millions winner in 2016 who chose the one-time payout of approximately $102 million. His first purchase was an Alienware game system.
- $90 million Powerball winner from Auburn in 2014 who headed to the store on Thanksgiving Day to buy pumpkin pie spice and returned home with a winning ticket.
- $25 million Mega Millions winner in 2016.
Whether the prize was large or small, many Washington’s Lottery winners spend and invest in their local communities. A great example of that was the $3.4 million Quinto winner (a game now retired) who returned to his job and eventually used a portion of his prize to help fund a new track at Evergreen High School in White Center.
In recognition of this milestone, Washington’s Lottery held a special Lotto promotion with a second-chance drawing for an opportunity to win $35,000. The drawing takes place today – exactly 35 years since the first Lottery ticket was sold in the state.
Today, proceeds from Washington’s Lottery benefit the Washington Opportunity Pathways Account, providing grants to college students statewide. To learn more about Washington’s Lottery, its beneficiaries and to review all up-to-date winning numbers, please visit www.walottery.com.
WASHINGTON’S LOTTERY: Washington’s Lottery is celebrating 35 years inspiring Washington’s imagination. Since 1982, Washington’s Lottery has generated more than $3 billion to support important state programs including the Washington Opportunity Pathways Account. Money in the Pathways Account goes toward helping students achieve their higher education dreams and supports early childhood education learning programs. The state’s Lottery offers consumers several types of games: Mega Millions, Powerball, Lotto, Hit 5, Match 4, Daily Game, Daily Keno and Scratch. For more information, visit www.walottery.com or join our online community on Facebook at www.facebook.com/walottery and follow us on Twitter @walottery and Instagram @walottery.
Stephanie Kirk (Curator on behalf of Washington’s Lottery)