Forming in 1984 and officially opening its doors in October 1985, the California Lottery was approved via Proposition 37 in the California State Lottery Act. Including everything from traditional lottery draws, to scratch-offs and even mock horse races, all revenue goes towards funding Public Education in the state.
The idea of the Lottery Act of 1985 was that the state would provide money to public schools, without bringing extra taxes to Californians. As part of the legislation, the California Lottery was required to allocate at least 34% of its revenue to public education.
Additionally, at least 50% of the revenue would go towards the public through winnings from the lottery itself. The remaining 16% was to be allocated to the administration of the California Lottery itself, including salaries of the staff and the costs to run the game.
What is the California Lottery?
The California Lottery is a state-backed organization that was formed following the Proposition 37 ballot measure that was approved by California voters in November of 1984. What followed was the California State Lottery Act, which to this day supplements the funding of CA public education through lottery-generated revenue.
Despite being considered a public agency in the state, the California Lottery receives no public funding and instead pays its in-house bills from revenue generated from the lottery games. With 84% of total revenue going back to California Lottery Players and public education funding, the California Lottery, in many ways, operates as a non-profit organization.
To date, the California Lottery has given public schools in the state more than $40 billion in supplemental funding to help them operate. Since 1985, the California Lottery has maintained a five-member commission, with meetings held quarterly that are open to the public.
Is it possible to play the California Lottery online?
No, you can not currently play the California Lottery online, as only authorized brick-and-mortar retailers can legally sell lottery tickets in the state. While there are websites and mobile apps out there that sell California lottery tickets, the state has taken a strict stance that the only safe and secure way to play the California Lottery is through an authorized (in-person) retailer.
Though you can not play the California Lottery online, there is a CA Lottery mobile app where you can scan tickets to see if they are winners, check winning numbers, find a CA Lottery retailer, and much more. It also lets you see 2nd Chance promotions and up-to-date winners.
History of the California Lottery
Approved by 58% of California voters at the time, the California Lottery was formed in 1984 by a popular vote. In January 1985, as required by The Lottery Act of 1984, a mandated five-member commission was formed to oversee the lottery and the director. Appointed by the governor, the Lottery Commission was designed to hold quarterly meetings that are open to the public, as well as send quarterly reports to the Attorney General, Governor, Controller, Treasurer, and the State Legislature.
California Lottery sales officially began in October of 1986 with a game called Lotto 6/49, with Daily Draw games beginning in March 1990. The popular lottery game keno made a brief debut in the California Lottery early in the early 1990s, before a 1996 lawsuit by Pachinko Parlor forced the state to shut the game down.
In 2005, the California Lottery made the popular Mega Millions a part of its offering, becoming the 12th state lottery to join the game. Eight years later in 2013, the California Lottery joined another major national lottery game, adding the Powerball to its game menu. Later that year, scratch cars made their debut in the Golden State, officially launching in September 2013.
Guide for claiming California Lottery winnings
Are you a California Lottery winner? Congratulations! We have you covered below on what to do next, in our comprehensive guide for claiming California Lottery Winnings.