Does luck, like life, begin at 40? Maybe that’s why the Colorado Lottery hit two big milestones on the same day, Jan. 24. In addition to the Lottery marking its 40th anniversary on that Tuesday, it reached $4 billion in proceeds.
The double-dip big day came on the heels of the sixth consecutive year in which the Lottery saw an increase in sales, with a slight drop in 2020.
The Lottery sold its very first scratch ticket in 1983, back before cell phones in every pocket and microwaves in every kitchen. The first drawing happened one month later. Now the Colorado Lottery’s greatest legacy, according to the agency itself, is what selling lottery tickets has given back to the state.
Tom Seavor, director of the Colorado Lottery, told KKTV.
“Lottery dollars are everywhere people play in Colorado. From pavilions and arenas to open space and trail support, there are Lottery dollars in every state park and in hundreds of local outdoor resources in Colorado. We are looking forward to another 40 years of giving back to the great state of Colorado.”
Looking forward to the next 40 years
Play Colorado spoke with Suzanne Karrer, Communications Supervisor at the Colorado Lottery, about what the next 40 years might be like for the agency. They’ll keep going, she laughed.
First up, sometime around Feb. 20, is a 40th-anniversary scratch game. Tickets will range from $1 to $40.
Looking both back and ahead, lottery director Seavor said, “Reaching $4 billion in proceeds reflects the support our players and retail partners have shown us for these first 40 years. We have tried to do a good job of listening to our players tell us what they want in terms of games, prizes, and play experiences.”
“We’ve also tried to ensure all Coloradans know that whether they play the Lottery or not, they win whenever they visit a state park or one of the thousands of Lottery-funded projects around the state. Reaching $4 billion and 40 years is a great start, but we are committed to making this year’s Colorado Lottery the best one yet.”
Lottery tickets are the ticket to a better Colorado outdoors
The Colorado Lottery is self-funded. It reinvests its proceeds throughout the state to “enhance, protect, [and] improve parks, trails, and open spaces in Colorado,” the agency said in a press release.
The agency does all that through trust funds established by the state, including:
- Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) receives 50% of the Lottery’s proceeds. GOCO opens up, cares for, and protects new outdoor spaces. It also helps outdoor organizations, such as Colorado Parks and Wildlife. During last year’s banner Lottery sales year, GOCO received $73.1 million. GOCO’s project reach covers every Colorado county.
- Conservation Trust Fund (CTF) benefits from 40% of annual Lottery proceeds. CTF allocates monies for wildlife conservation, river and fish recovery, and more. In Fiscal Year 2022, CTF received $72.1 million from the Colorado Lottery.
- Colorado Parks and Wildlife receives the remaining 10% of the agency’s proceeds. In Fiscal Year 2022, that came to $24.3 million.
Other beneficiaries in Fiscal Year 2022 included:
- Building Excellent Schools Today: $9.3 million.
- Outdoor Equity Fund: $1.5 million. Just a few years old, this fund is managed by Colorado Parks and Wildlife. It aims to increase outdoor access for underserved communities.
Through its proceeds, the Lottery helped GOCO fund the 2000 conservation of Greenland Ranch, the “big green open space” between Denver and Colorado Springs along the I-25 corridor, much appreciated by those driving by or visiting on foot. The Lottery called that effort “one of GOCO’s most iconic investments.”
The Lottery plans to continue prioritizing conservations, officials told coloradopolitics.com. The agency will also keep “expanding hands-on support through events throughout the year.”
One such event is the annual Colorado Lottery Conservation Month. Proclaimed as such by Governor Jared Polis, its third incarnation took place in October. One hundred and twenty-five volunteers helped clear debris from the banks of the Arkansas River. Another group of about 80 volunteers broke ground on a new surface trail out of Soderberg Trailhead.
Another candle in the Colorado Lottery 40th birthday cake
The Colorado Lottery headed into its 40th year on a wave of success. Not only has it seen record sales, but it also received a Level 4 Responsible Gaming Certification from the World Lottery Association thanks to its continuing efforts to promote responsible play. Level 4 is the highest level available.
Unsung heroes: Lottery retailers. Without the retailers who sell the tickets, the Lottery couldn’t have operated all these years. Seavor called them the Lottery’s “most important partners” and added, “I’m thankful for the nearly 3,000 retailers who work with the Lottery and hope to add many more in the future.”
On average, Lottery product retailers get more than $19,000 every year.