Earlier than ever in its 40-year history, the Colorado Lottery has hit its Great Outdoors Colorado funding ceiling for fiscal year 2023. GOCO receives 50% of lottery revenue until it reaches a predetermined cap.
That cap was $75 million for this fiscal year, which runs from July 1, 2022, through June 30, 2023. The Lottery achieved the record-breaking feat on March 20, sending $75,706,639 to GOCO.
The fund supports several outdoors projects and entities across the state, including parks, recreation areas, wildlife, conservation and open spaces.
Lottery money will now go to BEST, wildlife and parks cash funds
Colorado is the only state that uses lottery dollars to support the outdoors. GOCO funds have gone to more than 5,000 projects and awarded over 400 conservation grants since it began in 1992.
In its 30-year history, GOCO has invested over $1.4 billion back into all the counties across Colorado, funding thousands of projects statewide. Many of the projects include fairgrounds, parks, playgrounds, rivers, rodeo pavilions, trails and wildlife.
GOCO is fully funded by the Colorado Lottery. Not a dime comes from taxpayers.
The exact amount of the cap on GOCO is adjusted each year according to the consumer price index in Denver for the preceding year. It rises most years, including next year, when it’s expected to see its largest increase in history due to inflation.
In fiscal year 2022, the lottery sent $73.1 million to GOCO.
Now that the lottery has reached its cap on GOCO, the revenue earned through June 30 will go to Building Excellent Schools Today (BEST) and Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s two cash funds; the Wildlife Cash Fund and the Parks and Outdoor Recreation cash fund. Fifty percent of the proceeds will go to BEST, while 25% will be sent to each of the two cash funds.
The Colorado Lottery celebrated its 40th anniversary earlier this year.
Big jackpots a major factor in the funding boom
Mega Millions and Powerball, both billion-dollar games, were major contributing factors in reaching the fund’s cap with three months to go in the fiscal year. There was even a dueling jackpot that combined for over $1 billion. Scratch-offs and Colorado Lotto+ jackpots contributed over $14 million alone.
Tom Seaver, director of the Colorado Lottery, was excited about the growth of lottery participation across the state.
“We are thrilled that so many Coloradans enjoy the games offered by the Lottery and sold through our network of 3,000 retailers across the state. We’re also thrilled that so much funding will be available for GOCO to support their incredible work. This also means the Lottery will need to responsibly grow our revenue to ensure support for our other beneficiaries like BEST and the Outdoor Equity Fund. Those funds will only receive lottery revenue after we reach the GOCO cap.”
Colorado Lottery funds also support wildlife and conservation
Aside from supporting GOCO and BEST, 40% of Colorado Lottery revenue funds the Conservation Trust Fund and 10% funds Colorado Parks and Wildlife.
Several of the games that help fund these projects and organizations include:
- Mega Millions
- Colorado Lotto+
- Lucky for Life
- Cash 5
- Pick 3