Massachusetts State Lottery Commission

Information Packet

1971 - 2008


Lottery Logo



Timothy P. Cahill

Treasurer and Receiver General

Mark J. Cavanagh

Executive Director

State Lottery
60 Columbian Street
Braintree, MA  02184





The Massachusetts State Lottery was created by the Legislature in 1971 in response to the need for revenues for the 351 cities and towns of the Commonwealth.

To provide an operating structure for the Lottery, the Legislature established a five-member commission that includes the State Treasurer as Chairperson, the Secretary of Public Safety, the State Comptroller, and two gubernatorial appointees. The Commissioners oversee and provide final approval of the types of games, the consumer prices of games, the prize structure of games, the methods of prize payment, and the licensing of agents.

Honorable Timothy P. Cahill

State Treasurer & Receiver General

Honorable Kevin M. Burke

Secretary of Public Safety

Honorable Martin J. Benison


Governor's Appointees

Derek Davis
Timothy J. McMahon



The Lottery is headquartered in Braintree, and maintains regional offices in Fairhaven, Springfield, Worcester and Woburn.


Over the past three decades, the Massachusetts Lottery has returned over $15.3 billion to the Commonwealth for cities and towns throughout the state which is distributed according to a local aid formula established by the Legislature.

Fiscal Year 2006 was a milestone for the Lottery, as it marked the third consecutive year of record-breaking figures with $4.52 billion in sales and $951.2 million returned to the Commonwealth for cities and towns.

The Lottery is charged with generating the revenues through the sale of its products, while the Department of Revenue’s Division of Local Services is responsible for disbursing the funds to municipalities. The state's distribution formula of Lottery revenues is based primarily on property values and population, and does not take sales into account when deciding how much is returned to individual communities. Any changes to the formula requires legislative approval.

In Fiscal Year 2006, the Lottery returned a record $951.2 million to the Commonwealth.  The amount distributed directly to municipalities in FY06 was capped by the Legislature at $761,378,162 and the remaining funds were used to offset state budget obligations. The Legislature agreed to lift the cap on Lottery local aid for FY07, therefore the Commonwealth’s 351 cities and towns will receive more funds in the coming fiscal years.

Direct local aid is not earmarked for specific programs or purposes which allows each community to use the funds as needed. The unrestricted funds were used for everything from improving roads and schools to hiring police and firefighters in FY06.


The Lottery is charged with the task of presenting innovative games with entertainment value to players in order to further grow revenues available to the Commonwealth’s cities and towns.

The Lottery began with sales of tickets for its original weekly drawing called “The Game” in March 1972.  Then in May 1974, Massachusetts introduced a game that would revolutionize the lottery industry in the United States .  The “Instant Game” was the first “scratch” ticket, with a top instant prize of $10,000. There were also three monthly drawings in the “Instant Game”, for $100,000 and $1,000 a year for life.  

Today, the Lottery introduces 24-28 new instant games each year and is a national leader in sales. In Fiscal Year 2006, instant ticket sales in Massachusetts reached $3.11 billion or 69% of the Lottery’s overall sales.

The Lottery also offers a variety of on-line, or computerized, games including: The NUMBERS Game, Megabucks, Mass Cash, CASH WinFall, KENO, and the multi-state Mega Millions game. These games accounted for more than $1.34 billion in sales last fiscal year.


The Lottery offers its products through a network of more than 7,500 private sector sales agents across the state. The strong partnership maintained with sales agents plays a key role in the continued success of the Lottery.

In addition to assisting with the Lottery’s charge of raising dollars for municipalities, revenues generated at these agent locations greatly benefit the state’s economy. By offering Lottery products, merchants boost their customer base and overall sales, helping to create and/or retain jobs locally. Lottery agents in Massachusetts earn a five (5) percent commission on sales and one (1) percent bonus on prizes claimed. In FY06, sales agents collectively earned more than $255 million from the sale of Lottery products. The average earned per agent was approximately $36,000.


September 27th:
Legislation to create a Massachusetts state lottery was enacted.  The Lottery’s mission is to provide a source of revenue for the Commonwealth’s 351 cities and towns.


March 22nd:
The Lottery began with sales of tickets for “The Game”.  Tickets cost  $.50, and the first drawing was held on April 6, 1972 at Faneuil Hall in Boston.  Seven people won $50,000.  “The Game” was played on a weekly basis.

May 8th:
The first $1 million prize was won on “The Game”.


The Legislature transferred supervision of Beano from the Department of Public Safety to the State Lottery Commission.  This Division later became known as Charitable Gaming.


Massachusetts became the first state to sell Instant Lottery Tickets as an alternative to the weekly jackpot game. “The Instant Game” was the first instant ticket, with a top instant prize of $10,000.  There were also three monthly drawings in the Instant Game, for $100,000 and $1,000/year for life.  


“The Game” was changed to the “Big Money Game,” with a guaranteed top prize of $500,000 instead of $50,000.

A half-hour, weekly television game show based on the “Big Money Game” was introduced.  The show was televised for 10 years.


April 1st:
The daily Numbers Game was introduced, allowing players an opportunity to select their own numbers, the type of bet, the dollar amount, and the length of time they wanted to play.


The Massachusetts Lottery introduced the first Lotto game in the country.  The game was a pick 6 numbers out of 49 game with building jackpots.  The game was cancelled after only 13 weeks due to weak business and the failure to produce large jackpots.


The Lottery installed its first on-line terminals at agent locations throughout the state.


November 16th:
Megabucks was introduced.  Players were required to pick 6 out of 30 numbers and the minimum jackpot was $400,000.

December:  The first Megabucks jackpot over $1 million was won.


 The daily Numbers Game drawings were televised.


 Six people split a national record jackpot of $18.2 million in the Megabucks game.

Megabucks went from 1 drawing per week to 2 drawings per week.  Those drawings were televised.


May 1st:
Mass Millions was introduced, requiring players to choose 6 out of 46 numbers.

Quic-pics were introduced.


Mass Cash was introduced, requiring players to select 5 out of 35 numbers for a chance to win a one-time pay-out of $100,000.


April 6th:
The Lottery marked its 20th anniversary with an outdoor celebration at Faneuil Hall, where the first drawing of “The Game” took place.

A new instant game “Wild 20” was introduced to celebrate the Lottery’s anniversary. (It was the Lottery’s first $2 instant ticket).

  The first $5 ticket, Holiday Bonus” was introduced.


Legislation was passed authorizing the Lottery to launch Keno

September 30th:
The first Keno drawing was conducted.


  In an effort to enhance its existing games, the Lottery launched a new TV game show called Bonus Bonanza.  (Bonus Bonanza aired through March 1998)


Massachusetts joined five other states to create a multi-state lottery game.  “The Big Game” was established, featuring a minimum jackpot of $5 million.  “The Big Game” was successful in recapturing customers who were attracted to other multi-state lottery games and was able to draw in new customers as well.

The Massachusetts Lottery installed a new state-of-the-art $60 million computer system from Digital Technologies.  The project involved a nearly simultaneous conversion to new terminals at almost 6000 retail locations across the state.  The new system replaced terminal models that were 15 to 17 years old.  The new system offered displays of bets and winnings for customers, as well as increased volume capability and reliability for sales agents.


Maria Grasso, a live-in babysitter from Boston’s Beacon Hill neighborhood, wins the $197 million Big Game jackpot - the largest jackpot in state history and the second-largest in national history.

New Jersey joined the Big Game consortium, bringing the total number of participating states to seven.

The Millennium Spectacular game, the Lottery’s first $10 instant game makes its debut.  Offering an 80 percent prize pay-out, five $4 million prizes, and five $2 million prizes, tickets sell at a record-setting pace.


The Big Game jackpot reaches $363 million, a national record.  The Lottery sets a one-day sales record of $11.3 million on May 9, 2000, the day of the $363 million drawing.  The jackpot was split between two winners, one in Michigan and one in Illinois. 

  The Lottery applauds changes in the state’s charitable gaming laws.  The law allows Bingo games to include progressive games with payouts of up to $3,000 (up from a maximum prize of $500); it allows for a larger pool of people eligible to be volunteer workers at Bingo events; and it allows local organizations broader discretion in the sale of charitable gaming tickets.

  The Massachusetts Lottery launches the $400,000,000 Spectacular instant game.  This second $10 instant ticket offers an 80 percent prize payout, including 20 $1 million prizes and 10 $4 million prizes.  The $4 million prize is billed as the top instant prize in the world.

The Massachusetts Lottery launches its first-ever comprehensive anti-litter campaign, The Clean Fun Sweepstakes.  The program, which allowed players to submit $10 in non-winning instant tickets for a chance to win up to $100,000, resulted in the recycling of 40 to 50 million non-winning instant tickets, or more than 85 tons of paper.

  The Lottery launches the $600 Million Spectacular instant game, the third $10 game in Lottery history.  The game offers an 80% prize payout, including fifteen $4 million prizes and thirty $1 million prizes.   Paying out a total of $600 million in prizes, the game offers the largest prize structure in Lottery history.

  The Massachusetts Lottery director joins the other six lottery directors in the Big Game to announce the addition of New York to the Big Game group.  The new partnership would result in the development of a new mega-jackpot game to launch in the spring 2002.


The Lottery launches the second Clean Fun Sweepstakes.  The 10-week program, which largely resembles the first Clean Fun Sweepstakes, offers players larger prizes at both the secondary and grand prize levels.  More than 76 tons of non-winning instant tickets are recycled.

  The Big Game sets off a sales frenzy when the jackpot climbs to a near record $325 million.  The jackpot is shared between three winners in Georgia , Illinois, and New Jersey.

  The Big Game consortium is expanded to include New York and Ohio and the game is renamed Mega Millions.  The following September the state of Washington joins the group, bringing the total number of Mega Millions states to 10. 

  The Lottery launches the Mega Millions season ticket, the first ever for a multi-state game in Massachusetts.

  The Lottery marks its 30th Anniversary with the launch of the 30th Anniversary Spectacular instant game, the fourth $10 game in Lottery history.  The game offers an 80% prize payout that includes ten $4 million prizes and fifty $1 million prizes-- the largest number of grand prizes ever offered by a Lottery instant game.

January: Timothy P. Cahill is sworn into the office of Massachusetts State Treasurer and Receiver General on January 15 of 2003, making him the fourth Chairperson of the Massachusetts State Lottery.

February: Treasurer Cahill appoints Joseph C. Sullivan as Executive Director of the Massachusetts State Lottery.

February: Treasurer Cahill modifies Keno intervals in order to increase revenue to the Commonwealth’s cities and towns, resulting in an immediate revenue increase.

July: Treasurer Cahill secures a $5 million Lottery advertising budget from the Massachusetts State Legislature, allowing the Lottery to advertise its jackpots for the first time since 1997. With the changes to Keno and the addition of lottery advertising money, his team aims to increase revenues by the end of 2004 by approximately $30 million.

July: The Lottery launches its $5 dollar Harley Davidson instant game. The Harley Davidson game becomes the fastest-selling $5 dollar game in the Lottery’s history.

August: Texas joins the Mega Millions consortium, bringing the total number of member states to 11.

September: The Lottery launches its fifth $10 ticket, the $640,000,000 Jubilee. The game has the highest prize payout in lottery history nationwide, offering 50 $1 million prizes and 10 $4 million prizes.


January: The Lottery unveils its first broad advertising campaign since 1997. The new advertising campaign featuring television, radio and print advertising specifically promotes the multi-state Mega Millions game, and is aimed at creating jackpot awareness among the casual lottery player.

March 22nd: Clifford Turner of Cambridge claims the largest cash prize in the history of the Mass Millions game after being the sole winner of a $50 million jackpot. It is then the second largest prize awarded in Massachusetts Lottery history.

April: Treasurer Cahill and New England Patriots wide receiver Troy Brown announce the Lottery's new one-day bingo license program. The Lottery's new bingo program enables qualified charities statewide the chance to raise money by conducting one-time only bingo nights.

May: Treasurer Cahill kicks off the new bingo program with an event hosted by New England Patriots wide receiver Troy Brown at Gillette Stadium. The “Troy Brown Celebrity Bingo” benefit brought fans and athletes together to raise money for the Patriots Charitable Foundation, the Celebrities for Charities Foundation, and the United Way

May 24th: Treasurer Cahill hosts a gathering of political and lottery industry luminaries at the Lottery’s Braintree headquarters to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the world’s first instant ticket, which went on sale in Massachusetts in 1974.

July: The Lottery closes Fiscal Year 2004 with record-setting sales of $4.38 billion and a record-high $912 million return to the Commonwealth.

July 2nd: Geraldine Williams, a retired janitor from Lowell, wins the second largest single-winner jackpot in North American history when she claimed a $294 million Mega Millions jackpot.

July: The Lottery debuts its new $5 instant game - $1,000,000 Corvette. The game offers over $115 million in total prizes, including 10 grand prizes of $1 million, plus a brand new Corvette.

August: The Lottery selects WCVB-TV 5 as the official broadcast partner for the Lottery’s live drawings. This new relationship marks the Lottery’s return to Channel 5. WCVB previously hosted the drawings from 1994-1998.

August: The Lottery launches its new anti-litter program, “Instant Replay”, which was designed to curb instant ticket litter in the Commonwealth and increase the Lottery’s recycling efforts. “Instant Replay” gives everyone over the age of 18 the opportunity to collect non-winning instant tickets and redeem them for a free $1.00 instant ticket.

September 9th: After 17 years as a Lottery mainstay, the Mass Millions game comes to a close. The jackpot game is retired as the result of declining sales and dwindling player interest in the game over the preceding decade particularly following the introduction of the multi-state Mega Millions game in 1997.  The final drawing airs on September 9th at 11:20 p.m. on WCVB-TV Channel 5.

September 13th: The Lottery debuts its newest jackpot game - CASH WinFall. The $2 game, the Lottery’s first online offering at that price point, is aimed at increasing players’ chances of winning, providing an experience similar to the state’s highly successful instant ticket program. The first CASH WinFall drawing takes place on Monday, Sept. 13, 2004.



January: Red Sox President/CEO Larry and Treasurer Cahill announce a partnership to bring the World Series Trophy to every community in the Commonwealth.

March 29th: The Lottery launches its newest $10 instant ticket, $10,000,000 HOLD’EM
POKER®. With more than $645 million in prizes, the new game offers a grand prize of
$10 million - the largest single instant ticket prize in U.S. lottery history.

May: The Lottery’s newest jackpot game CASH WinFall boasts record sales leading up to the Monday, May 9th drawing. The jackpot eclipses $2 million.

June: Treasurer Cahill announces that the Lottery will donate a portion of its $10 million advertising budget, as well as a significant share of its multi-media advertisements, to the Massachusetts Council on Compulsive Gambling. The funds will be used to build public awareness around the issue of problem gambling in the state, and promote available resources to those seeking help.

June 24: Treasurer Cahill and Boston Red Sox President/CEO Larry Lucchino celebrate the close of the World Series Trophy Tour at a Fenway Park send-off for the Trophy. It then makes its way to the island of Gosnold – the smallest town in the state and the 351st and final stop on the tour.

July: The Lottery posts its best year ever with sales of $4.48 billion and local aid of $936 million.


January: The Lottery opens a new regional office in Worcester. The 17,400-square-foot
building, at 151 West Boylston Drive, is located near the intersection of Interstates 290
and 190, and is within walking distance of the busy Greendale Mall.

April: The Massachusetts Lottery’s new Red Sox Instant Ticket – the nation’s first
instant game to feature a Major League Baseball team logo – debuts. This $5 instant game offers more than $150 million in cash and Fenway Fantasy

May: The Massachusetts Council on Compulsive Gambling launches a new public service campaign designed to raise awareness of problem gambling in the Commonwealth, and promote the availability of resources for people with gambling problems and their families. Treasurer Cahill pledges $1 million dollars from
the Lottery’s $10 million dollar advertising budget toward building awareness around
problem gambling in the State. The Lottery’s advertising agency, Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulous, leads the creative efforts.

July: The Lottery posts record-breaking sales ($4.52 billion) and local aid ($951 million)  for fiscal 2006.
September: The Lottery launches a comprehensive plan to rejuvenate sales for its oldest
offering - The NUMBERS Game.

October: The Massachusetts Lottery’s new Boston Celtics Green” instant game
goes on sale. The game offers more than $57.5 million in cash, merchandise and prizes.

November: The Massachusetts State Lottery and Boston College Athletics announce the
creation of a new award recognizing Massachusetts residents who have made significant
contributions to women’s athletics. The Heights Award,” will be presented to one
recipient at each of the BC Women’s Basketball team’s 16 home games during the 2006-
2007 season.


January: Treasurer Cahill appoints Mark J. Cavanagh as Executive Director of the Lottery, effective January 15, 2007. Cavanagh replaces Joseph C. Sullivan, who served as Executive Director during Cahill’s first term.

January- The Massachusetts State Lottery, in partnership with the Massachusetts State Police, is assisting in the search for and safe recovery of abducted children by broadcasting AMBER Alerts at Lottery retailers throughout the state.

March- The Massachusetts State Lottery and the Boston Red Sox announce their second partnership in a year by launching another Boston Red Sox instant ticket. The $10 Boston Red Sox instant ticket offers cash prizes and one-of-a-kind Red Sox team merchandise as well as Fenway Park experiences.

March - Mega Millions jackpot hits an all-time high of $390 million.  Two winning tickets in the multi-state game are sold, but not in Massachusetts.

August – Multi-state Mega Millions jackpot soars again to near record high.  Jackpot tops out at $330 million, the second highest total in history. Winning tickets are sold Aug. 31 in Maryland, New Jersey, Texas and Virginia.

September – Billion Dollar Blockbuster hits the market after much anticipation among players and agents. The state’s first $20 instant ticket is the largest game ever produced by an American lottery.

Sales break records during its first weeks on the market as players are excited by its unprecedented prize payouts and jackpots. The game offers a better than one-in-three chance of winning and features 130 instant prizes of $1 million and 10 instant prizes of $10 million. At the end of the game, one prize of $1 million a year for life will be awarded.

October – The Daily Race Game is fully rolled out after a successful pilot run. The game, which now features improved graphics, allows players to bet on horses that are competing in an animated race. The monitor game is immediately sought after by agents who want to bolster their Keno sales. Races are aired every four minutes from 5 a.m. to 1 a.m. at hundreds of locations.

November – Sandra Grant, a tour bus driver from Martha’s Vineyard, wins the first ever instant prize of $10 million playing Billion Dollar Blockbuster. 





In May 1974, the Massachusetts State Lottery introduced the instant game - a game that would revolutionize the Lottery industry in the United States .  An instant game is a scratch-off ticket with hidden prizes.  It allows players to find out immediately if they have won. Instant games continue to be the most popular and successful Lottery product, accounting for 70% of total sales.  Different game themes and prize structures are periodically introduced (approximately six launches a year of three or four games) to sustain player interest. 

Currently, the Lottery sells $1, $2, $3, $5, and $10 instant tickets. In FY06, 27 new instant games were introduced, including the $5 Red Sox Instant Ticket - the nation’s first instant game to feature a Major League Baseball team logo. 

Overall, instant games offer prize payouts ranging from 69 to 80 percent, the highest payout percentages in the country.  Since the games began, prizes have ranged from $1 to $1 million a year for life.  Total gross instant game sales were $3.11 billion in FY06. 



Legislation was passed in July of 1993, authorizing the development of Keno.  The first numbers were drawn on September 30, 1993.

Keno is a “lotto” style game in which winning numbers are drawn approximately every four minutes. Players select from one to twelve numbers or “spots” for each game.  A computer then randomly chooses 20 winning numbers from 1-80 and displays them on a Keno monitor.  Players win by matching some, all, or in some cases, none of the numbers they have chosen to the numbers chosen by the computer.

Keno got a new look in September 2004 as the Lottery began upgrading the graphics platform used to display the game drawings, results and messages at agent locations. The new Keno game offers high resolution graphics and is capable of functions such as real-time messaging, animated graphics and video messaging.

Since its inception, Keno has enjoyed remarkable success, becoming one of the Lottery’s most popular games.  The game’s sales benefited greatly from the addition of a multiplier feature in December 2005. “Keno Bonus” boosted the game’s already strong sales to $775.2 million in FY06, a 4.5 percent increase over last year. Sales represented 17.1 % of the Lottery’s overall revenues.

Keno is offered at 1,725 Lottery agent locations across the state.


The NUMBERS Game is the oldest game still offered by the Massachusetts Lottery.  The first drawing was on April 10, 1976.  Originally designed to compete with the illegal numbers game, the Lottery’s NUMBERS Game gives players an opportunity to select their numbers, the type of bet, the length of time and dollar amount (beginning at $.25) they would like to play.

For the first five years of the game, the Lottery employed an off-line system, which required a network of couriers to pick up betting slips daily from nearly 1,800 locations across the state.  These slips were then delivered to Lottery headquarters in Braintree for microfilming and recording.  In 1981, that process stopped when the Lottery acquired the most sophisticated computer betting terminals on the market at that time.  These terminals were replaced in 1997.  Today players can place bets right up until shortly before the 7:57 p.m. drawing.

Sales of the NUMBERS Game have remained consistently strong throughout its 30-year history, with sales of $342 million in Fiscal Year 2006. The Numbers Game accounted for 7.6% of the Lottery’s total FY06 sales.

In September 2006, the Lottery launched a comprehensive plan to rejuvenate sales for The NUMBERS Game. By repositioning the 30-year-old game, the Lottery hopes to attract new players while still appealing to its loyal players.

While the rules and play style of The NUMBERS Game remain the same, it received a “makeover” courtesy of a fun, modern logo, a boost from the first advertising campaign in over a decade, and a 5% increase to the game’s prize payout, which provides players with bigger cash prizes.

The Numbers game is drawn seven days a week and broadcast live on WCVB-TV Channel 5.







1 in 10



1 in 100

3 Exact


1 in 1,000

4 Exact


1 in 10,000

3 Any- no duplicates


1 in 166.7

3 Any- 2 digits the same


1 in 333.3

4 Any- no duplicates


1 in 416.7

4 Any- 2 digits the same


1 in 833.3

4 Any- 2 pair


1 in 1,667.7

4 Any- 3 digits the same


1 in 2,500


Megabucks was introduced on November 16, 1982.  When first introduced, it consisted of choosing 6 numbers from a field of 30 and featured a jackpot prize that would increase with each drawing until won.  On May 7, 1983, the number field was increased to 36 numbers.

Propelling the growth of Megabucks was a number of growing jackpots, beginning with the first jackpot prize of $1,089,860, won one month after the game began.  The first jackpot over $2 million was in July of 1983.  In November of the same year, the jackpot reached $3.8 million. In February and March of 1984, three drawings failed to produce a winner, and launched what the media referred to as “Megamania.” As a result, Massachusetts produced a then national record jackpot of $18.2 million, which was shared by six winners. 

In the wake of “Megamania,” analysis showed that Lottery players preferred larger jackpots of $10 million or more.  In an effort to meet this demand, on March 24, 1991 the field of numbers in Megabucks was increased from 36 to 42.  This expansion decreased the odds of winning, and the “roll-overs” immediately resulted in higher jackpots.  The largest Megabucks jackpot to date is $21,714,520. 

When first introduced, Megabucks was the fastest growing game in the history of the Massachusetts State Lottery and it has remained a Lottery mainstay for over two decades. The game represents 1.1% of the Lottery’s total sales with gross $42.1 million in FY06.

Twelve players took home the game’s top prize during FY06, with jackpots totaling more than $21.7 million. Megabucks is drawn on Wednesday and Saturday at 11:20 p.m. The results are broadcast on WCVB-TV Channel 5.

Pick 6 of 42



All six numbers

1 in 5,245,786

5 of 6

1 in 24,286.05

4 of 6

1 in 555.11

3 of 6

1 in 36.74








Mass Cash became the Lottery’s fourth online game in March 1991.  Mass Cash was created to offer players the opportunity to win a one-time pay-out of $100,000 by selecting five winning numbers out of 35.  Players were attracted to the favorable odds and the frequency with which the top prize was won. 

There were 10 $100,000 winners in the game’s first drawing, and over 30 winners of $100,000 within one month of the game’s introduction.  In FY06, Mass Cash boasted 84 top prize winners. The game represents 1% of the Lottery’s total sales with gross revenues of $42.6 million in FY06.

Mass Cash is drawn on Tuesday and Friday at 11:20 p.m.  The drawings are broadcast on WCVB-TV Channel 5.

Pick 5 of 35



All five

1 in 324,632

4 of 5

1 in 2,164.21

3 of 5

1 in 74.63

Mega Millions (formerly The Big Game)

Massachusetts officially entered a multi-state lottery on August 9, 1996 when it joined five other states in a super jackpot game called The Big Game.

Sales of the The Big Game began on August 31, 1996, and the first drawing was September 6, 1996.  The Big Game expanded to two drawings per week on February 10, 1998.  The multi-state game received the most attention in Massachusetts in April of 1999, when the jackpot climbed to $197 million at that time the largest jackpot in state history, and the second-largest in history.  Maria Grasso, a live-in babysitter from Boston's Beacon Hill neighborhood, claimed the jackpot. 

In May 2002, the name of The Big Game was changed to Mega Millions. At that point, the game changed from a pick five numbers out of a field of 50 game to five out of 52 game.  In addition, the Big Money Ball, previously chosen from a field of 36 numbers, became the Mega Ball to be chosen from a pool of 52.  This was the second matrix change for the Big Money Ball, which was originally chosen from a field of 25, until January 1999 when the matrix was changed to create larger jackpots. Upon the name change, the minimum jackpot was increased from $5 million to $10 million.
The original Big Game states were Massachusetts, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Georgia and Virginia.  New Jersey joined the consortium in 1999, New York and Ohio joined in May 2002 upon the change to Mega Millions, and Washington joined the game in September 2002.

The anticipation leading up to the year’s biggest Mega Millions drawing held on July 2, 2004 was extraordinary. The jackpot swelled to $294 million and was won by a single winner from Massachusetts. Geraldine Williams, a retired janitor from Lowell, won the Commonwealth’s largest jackpot in history and at the time the second largest jackpot ever won by a single ticket holder in North America when she claimed the $294 million top prize.

In June 2005, America 's biggest Lottery game got a whole lot bigger with the addition of California to the game. The “Golden State” became the 12th and newest member, solidifying Mega Millions as the country’s most widely played multi-state jackpot game.

The addition of California meant a much larger player-base for the game. To accommodate the expanded pool of players, the prize and game structure of Mega Millions were adjusted.

The minimum Mega Millions jackpot increased from $10 million to $12 million. The prize for matching the first five numbers, but not the Mega Ball, increased from $175,000 to $250,000. The prize for players matching four of the first five numbers plus the Mega Ball was raised from $5,000 to $10,000.  Mega Millions players now select five numbers from 1 to 56 and a Mega Ball number from 1 to 46. The odds of winning the jackpot prize are 1 in 175 million. The odds of winning any prize improved to 1 in 40.

Mega Millions is one of two jackpot games offered in Massachusetts that allows jackpot winners to collect their prize in one lump-sum payout.  Called the cash option, the total is usually about half of the total amount of the estimated jackpot.  If players do not elect to take the cash option, jackpots are paid out in 26 payments over 25 years.

With four jackpots that soared over the $250 million mark, the Lottery’s sole multi-state game experienced “mega” success in FY06. The excitement around Mega Millions’ multi-million jackpots helped propel sales from $97 million in FY05 to $134.7 million in FY06 – representing a whopping 38.8 percent increase over last year.

Mega Millions drawings are held Tuesdays and Fridays in Atlanta and aired at 11:24 PM on WCVB-TV Channel 5.

Pick 5 out of 56 and 1 out of 46



5 plus Mega Ball

1 in 175,711,536

5 match ONLY

1 in 3,904,701

4 plus Mega Ball

1 in 689,065

4 match ONLY

1 in 15,313

3 plus Mega Ball

1 in 13,781

2 plus Mega Ball

1 in 844

3 match ONLY

1 in 306

1 plus Mega Ball

1 in 141

Mega Ball ONLY

1 in 75






Mega Millions


After 17 years as a Lottery mainstay, the Mass Millions game came to a close on Thursday, September 9, 2004. The jackpot game was retired as the result of declining sales and dwindling player interest in the game over the preceding decade particularly following the introduction of the multi-state Mega Millions game in 1997.

While the Massachusetts Lottery was ending a game that once boasted record-high jackpots, there was a unique new jackpot game ready to offer new excitement. The Lottery was banking on this game to compliment its existing on-line game portfolio.

CASH WinFall - the Lottery’s newest jackpot game - debuted on September 9, 2004. The $2 game, the Lottery’s first online offering at that price point, is aimed at increasing players’ chances of winning, providing an experience similar to the state’s highly successful instant ticket program. The first Cash WinFall drawing took place on Monday, Sept. 13, 2004.

To play CASH WinFall, players choose six numbers from a field of 1 to 46. The overall odds to win a prize in the CASH WinFall game average one-in-six. The game’s jackpot always starts at a minimum of $500,000. If the jackpot reaches $2 million and is not won, money for that jackpot “winfalls” down to the other prize levels and increases those prize amounts by as much as 10 times. All CASH WinFall prizes are one-time lump sum payments (with the exception of Mega Millions, this is unique to Massachusetts).

In its first full fiscal year of sales, CASH WinFall registered $47 million in FY06. The popular $2 game contributed $41.8 million in sales for the 10 months it was available in FY05.  CASH WinFall drawings are held twice a week on Mondays and Thursdays at 11:20 p.m. on WCVB-TV Channel 5.

Pick 6 of 46



All six numbers

1 in 9,366,819

5 of 6

1 in 39,028.41

4 of 6

1 in 800.58

3 of 6

1 in 47.40

2 of 6

1 in 6.83






In 1992, the Lottery began licensing certain agents, primarily restaurants, bars and private clubs to sell Pull Tabs.  Pull Tab tickets offer a variety of popular themes, from patriotic to holiday-based. 

The player pulls a tab on the card to reveal symbols that indicate if he or she has won, and what the prize is.  The Massachusetts Lottery currently offers 14 games priced $.50 to $1 per ticket.

The Pull Tab game is somewhat different from all other Lottery products in that there are fixed costs associated with them.  As a result, profits rather than sales are calculated.  Pull Tabs represent just .1% of the Lottery’s game portfolio, contributing $1.6 million in sales during Fiscal Year 2006.


Bingo (Beano) was legalized in Massachusetts on September 29, 1971.  Effective September 4, 1973, control of the operation of Bingo was transferred from the state Department of Public Safety to the Massachusetts State Lottery Commission.  As a result, the Lottery is responsible for collecting the states 5% tax on gross receipts from all Beano games, raffles, and bazaars.  These events are held as fundraisers by charitable organizations, churches, and schools.  Organizations raise money through Bingo games and the sale of Charity Game tickets, which are supplied by the Lottery.

In 2000, the Massachusetts State Legislature passed the first significant changes to the state’s Charitable Gaming laws in 20 years.  The new statute, which was signed into law in July 2000, included four major initiatives: (1) it increased prizes by allowing progressive games that offer payouts of up to $3,000 (up from the previous maximum prize of $500); (2) it doubled the top prizes for regular bingo games, raising maximum prizes from $50 to $100, and allowed organizations to offer 50/50 games with prizes up to $1200; (3) it allowed for a larger pool of people eligible to be volunteers at bingo events, and (4) it allowed organizations broader discretion in the sale of charitable gaming tickets.

These changes to the bingo law, which were designed to make bingo games more exciting and viable, took effect in October of 2000. 

In the spring of 2004, the Lottery instituted a program for issuing one-day Bingo licenses to organizations through its Charitable Gaming Division to assist non-profit groups in raising funds for their charitable causes. The new bingo program kicked off with an event hosted by New England Patriots wide receiver Troy Brown at Gillette Stadium. The “Troy Brown Celebrity Bingo” benefit brought fans and athletes together to raise money for the Patriots Charitable Foundation, the Celebrities for Charities Foundation, and the United Way. Events conducted with the new one-day licenses generated over $6,000 for their respective charities. The Charitable Gaming Division hopes to continue working with organizations interested in conducting this type of fundraising activity to support their worthy causes.

Bingo provides an important social component to our citizens while also providing revenue to the state’s many charitable causes. The Lottery will strive to enable Bingo and all charitable gaming to operate in the Commonwealth, and bring assistance to the state’s residents.