The Massachusetts State Lottery commemorated its 50th Anniversary with a celebration of its customers, retailers, employees, and the communities that the Lottery supports, all of whom have played an important role in the Lottery’s success over the past five decades.
The celebration, which took place at the Massachusetts State House, included a live drawing of the Midday Numbers Game at the Grand Staircase hosted by State Treasurer and Chair of the Massachusetts State Lottery Commission Deborah B. Goldberg.
“When Prop 2 ½ was adopted in the early 1970’s, Treasurer Bob Crane understood the negative impacts it would have on local communities,” said Treasurer Goldberg. “It was his vision that created a lottery whose profits became the one reliable source of unrestricted local aid that people throughout the state have come to rely on. We have built upon that legacy and hope through collaboration, innovation, and good business practices to continue for another 50 years.”
Prior to the drawing, Governor Charlie Baker presented Treasurer Goldberg with a Citation commemorating the Lottery’s milestone achievement.
“The Lottery has been all that anybody back in the beginning could have hoped for and then some, and I’m thrilled to be here to be a part of this celebration today,” said Governor Baker. “Thank you for everything you’ve done.”
Since selling its first ticket on March 22, 1972, the Mass Lottery has generated over $143 billion in revenues, awarded over $100 billion in prizes, returned over $31 billion in net profit to the Commonwealth for unrestricted local aid provided to cities and towns, and paid over $8 billion in commissions and bonuses to its statewide network of retailers.
“As we look towards our next 50 years, we make this commitment today to continue to innovate, to continue to come out with new and exciting lottery products, and to continue on with the State of Winning, which since 1972 has generated over $100 billion in prizes paid to our players,” said Mark William Bracken, Interim Executive Director of the Mass Lottery and host of the event.
Additional speakers included Senate President Karen Spilka, Representative Ann-Margaret Ferrante of Gloucester, Mayor of Newton and President of the Massachusetts Municipal Association Ruthanne Fuller, and Gary Park, owner of Gary’s Liquors in Chestnut Hill, a Lottery retail partner since 1972.
“The Lottery is so important to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in so many ways,” said Senate President Spilka. “As a former chair of Ways and Means, especially when financial times were not so rosy, I have to tell you how valued and how critical the partnership with the Lottery was then and continues to be now to ensure that we continue to give the resources to our cities and towns that they all need so dearly.”
“We can fully appreciate and comprehend what it means to have a billion dollars to put into the budget to help cities and towns with the things that matter,” said Representative Ferrante. “Sometimes, it’s not the big things, it’s the smaller things, like the ability to improve a school playground, to do the things that matter to the people that have been so supportive of the Lottery over time.”
“Last year, it was $1.1 billion that was distributed to the 351 cities and towns here in the Commonwealth, and they allowed us, with that unrestricted aid, to help our residents and our businesses at a really difficult period,” said Mayor Fuller. “For us, it translated into teachers in schools, police on the streets, and firefighters available during emergencies. DPW workers paving our streets and clearing the snow. Social workers and counselors meeting the mental health needs of our residents and our children, and so much more.”
“The Lottery has been fantastic for us and fantastic for a lot of Lottery agents throughout the state,” said Park, a third-generation store owner who was joined at the event by his father Barry. “The commissions have helped us improve our business, the claims bonuses over the years I know went towards my and my brother’s and my sister’s college educations. The amazing thing about the Lottery is the amount of people that it brings into a lot of small family-run local businesses.”
The event featured a live performance by local musician Andy Brink, winner of the Lottery’s “Sound of Winning” jingle contest. Brink’s jingle, “Everyone’s a Winner in the Commonwealth,” was incorporated into the Lottery’s 50th Anniversary advertising campaign earlier this year.
At the conclusion of the speaking program, a video featuring historical footage and testimonials from municipal leaders, Lottery employees, retail partners and prize winners was shown. The video was narrated by national television personality Tom Bergeron, a native of Haverhill, who hosted Lottery Live and Megabucks drawings in the 1980s while working in the Boston television market.
On display at the event were jerseys from local professional and college sports teams with “Mass Lottery” on the name plate above the number 50. Mascots Blades (Bruins), Lucky (Celtics) and Wally (Red Sox) all participated in the afternoon’s festivities.
A red carpet was set up near a display of movie and television posters in which Lottery branded equipment had appeared. Additional displays featured historical items, including vintage lottery terminals, advertising posters and oversized instant tickets.