Kentucky Lottery turns 25 - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Kentucky Lottery turns 25

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The first Kentucky Lottery ticket was purchased on April 4, 1989, by then-Gov. Wallace Wilkinson at a gas station on Preston Hwy. The first Kentucky Lottery ticket was purchased on April 4, 1989, by then-Gov. Wallace Wilkinson at a gas station on Preston Hwy.
Arch Gleason, President and CEO of the Kentucky Lottery Corporation. Arch Gleason, President and CEO of the Kentucky Lottery Corporation.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The Kentucky Lottery is celebrating its Silver Anniversary.

Wallace Wilkinson, who was governor at the time, bought the first tickets at a Thorntons gas station 25 years ago on April 4, 1989.

Since that day, Lottery officials say players across the state have won more than $9 billion in prizes.

The Kentucky Lottery has benefited more than just the players. 

Lottery proceeds in Kentucky began shifting to college scholarship and grant programs in 1999. Last year, the Lottery awarded more than $2 billion in scholarship and grant funding, and more than $4 billion in overall proceeds have been returned to the Commonwealth. 

"From every dollar of non-loan college student financial aid awarded in our state, 95 cents of it comes straight from Kentucky Lottery proceeds," Gov. Steve Beshear said in a press release.

"Thanks to our incredible network of retailers and the confidence the people of Kentucky have shown in our games, we've been able to achieve modest growth and support a variety of programs in the Commonwealth over the past two decades", said KLC's President and CEO Arch Gleason. 

Gleason told WDRB that "raising the level of education of the workforce is a goal of every governor that I've ever worked for, and it's important that we contribute in that regard."

In the current state budget, lottery proceeds are dedicated to the need-based College Access Program and Kentucky Tuition Grants as well as the merit-based KEES scholarship program.

"Kentucky students are the real winners of the Kentucky Lottery. Each year thousands of students are provided help that enables them to continue their education", said KHEAA's Executive Director Dr. Carl Rollins. "When our students win, the entire Commonwealth benefits."

Retailers in the state -- who receive a share of winning tickets purchased by customers -- have taken in nearly a billion dollars in profits.

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