In 1986 by initiative the people of Idaho voted on the Lottery issue for the first time. The initiative resulted in a 60 to 40 percent "yes" margin, but was later declared unconstitutional by the Idaho Supreme Court. The Court prohibited the amending of the Idaho Constitution by initiative. However, in 1988 the Idaho Legislature authorized a vote by the electorate of Idaho in the upcoming general election. In November 1988, the Idaho Lottery act became law when 51% of Idaho voters approved a constitutional amendment repealing the constitutional ban on lotteries.
Idaho set a new industry record by implementing a lottery within 200 days. The first Idaho Lottery ticket was sold on July 19, 1989. On that first day of sales, players purchased more than 840,000 tickets throughout Idaho. That first year resulted in $65 million in sales and the first dividend check of $17,225,000 was given to then Governor Cecil D. Andrus on behalf of the "People of the State of Idaho."
Since its inception, the Idaho Lottery has offered lottery players more than 1,000 different Scratch Games™.
On February 1, 1990, the first Idaho Draw Game™ ticket was sold. The first Draw Game™ presented to Idaho Lottery players was "Idaho Super Lotto/Lotto*America." Idaho applied for and was accepted into membership of the Multi-State Lottery association (MUSL), which operated Lotto*America. Then in the fall of 1990, the Idaho Lottery presented Idaho's first exclusively Idaho cash lotto game, "Idaho Fantastic 5."
Over the years, the Idaho Lottery has offered different games with some changing names. Super Lotto/Lotto America became Powerball in 1992. Tri-West became Wild Card and ultimately Wild Card 2.
Another high point for the Idaho Lottery occurred on May 28, 2005, when Boise native Brad Duke won a $220.3 million Powerball jackpot. During fiscal year 2008, the Idaho Lottery had a record number, 16, Powerball Match 5 winners – players who won more than $200,000. In addition, the Idaho Lottery had three Wild Card 2 jackpot winners, including Ken Covert who won $2.78 million, the largest jackpot ever for that game. Bob Chester won $1 million in Idaho’s first $1,000,000 Raffle game.
The mission of the Idaho Lottery is to responsibly provide entertaining games with a high degree of integrity to maximize the dividends for public schools and buildings. Historically, Lottery dividends are shared by Idaho’s Public School Building Account and the Permanent Building Fund. A statute change in 2009, which sunsets in 2014, sets aside a portion of Lottery funds above the Fiscal Year 2008 funding level of $34 million for the Bond Levy Equalization Fund. This year, the Bond Levy Equalization Fund will receive $2.5 million, bringing the two-year total to $3.5 million since the law was changed.
The Idaho Lottery responsibly provides a variety of entertaining games featuring Powerball, Scratch™ tickets, and PullTabs with a high degree of integrity to maximize the dividend for Idaho public schools and the permanent building fund. Since their inception in 1989, the Idaho Lottery has sold over $2.1 billion in products, awarded nearly $1.2 billion in prizes to players, returned more than $117.1 million in retail commissions, and distributed more than $510.8 million in Lottery dividends to state public schools and buildings.
The Idaho Lottery surpassed a monumental threshold for sales at the end of Fiscal Year 2011. With record annual sales of $147.2 million for FY11, the Idaho Lottery has now surpassed the $2.1 billion sales threshold as an enterprise for the State since selling its first $1 ticket on July 19, 1989.
For the fourth consecutive year, Idaho Lottery sales have increased. In the past four years, Idaho Lottery sales have grown a total of 12.5%, including 5.2% in Fiscal Year 2011. Although a small state lottery by national standards, Idaho ranked 15th out of 43 state lotteries in overall sales by percentage of increase through the first nine months of Fiscal Year 2011.
The Idaho Lottery’s record-setting year produced seven new millionaires and more $500,000 and higher winners per capita on multi-state draw games than anywhere else in the country since December 1, 2010. For the first time in its history, Idaho recorded a Mega Millions jackpot winner, sharing the second largest jackpot in United States Lottery history with Washington. For the fourth time in five years, Idaho also had a Wild Card jackpot winner. In addition, six players, three on Powerball, two on Mega Millions, and one on the Idaho $1,000,000 Raffle won $1,000,000. In total, 19 players won over $200,000 and 154 players won over $10,000, both individual records. This year, the Idaho Lottery paid out over $89,900,000 in prizes other than multi-state jackpots.
The Idaho Lottery's composed of the Lottery Commission and the Idaho Lottery staff. The Governor appoints the five-member commission and each member serves for four years. The Commission adopts rules for the agency, approves contracts and monitors all Lottery operations.Executive Director Jeffrey R. Anderson serves at the pleasure of the Governor. The Director is responsible for overseeing day-to-day Lottery operations, including security, marketing, sales, media relations, warehousing and inventory control, information systems and fiscal management.