The Illinois Lottery began July 1, 1974 amid great excitement across the state. During its first years, it sold "passive" games via weekly drawings. First year sales topped $129 million. Sales faltered in subsequent years, after the novelty of the Lottery wore off, prompting some to call for an end to the Lottery. In 1980 the first terminal game, Pick 3, was introduced. Pick 3 breathed new life into the Lottery, tallying sales of $164 million during its first full year of operation.
Lottery profits initially went to the State's General Revenue Fund, until legislation was passed in 1985 earmarking profits for the Common School Fund, which is still the Lottery's major benefactor. 2006 saw the first "specialty instant games" launched; these games benefit a particular cause like Illinois Veterans, the fight against breast cancer, MS research, and assistance for people living with HIV-Aids. In 2010, the Lottery began contributing to the Capitol Projects Fund, which helps build and renovate state roads and bridges.
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