History of the Maine State Lottery

The idea of starting a lottery operation in Maine was first championed by Rep. Arthur Genest of Waterville. In 1973, Genest sponsored a bill to introduce a lottery in Maine. When the public was asked to vote in 1973, the answer was a resounding “yes,” and the Lottery began operations in 1974.

Governor Kenneth M. Curtis drew the first lottery numbers on June 27, 1974. The numbers were printed on large rubber balls and drawn from a gumball machine. Ivan Lazure of Lewiston was the first winner, with a $20 prize.

Profits from the Maine State Lottery are transferred to the State’s General Fund which support many programs and services for the citizens of the State of Maine.

February 1974

  • Christo Anton was appointed the first Director of the Maine State Lottery

June 1974

  • Ticket sales begin for a 50-cent weekly draw game called “Play Me”
  • The first draw is held on June 27, 1974

October 1974

  • Joseph Comeau of Bangor was the first jackpot winner for the weekly “Play Me” game with a prize of $150,000

February 1975

  • George Orestis was appointed the Director of the Maine State Lottery
  • The weekly game, “Play Me,” ends
  • The weekly game “Downeast Sweepstakes” begins

March 1975

  • Burpee Pond of Naples wins $150,000 as the first winner for the weekly game “Downeast Sweepstakes”

June 1975

  • The first instant ticket, the “Great Outdoors,” is released

August 2, 1975

  • Patricia James of Augusta was the winner of $500,000 prize from the “Great Outdoors” instant ticket

February 1979

  • Richard J. Carey was appointed Director of the Maine State Lottery

June 1980

  • “Pick 3 Daily Numbers” game debuts

August 1980

  • First $1,000,000 winner from the “Maine Event Game” was William Emhoff of Wellington.

January 1981

  • The weekly draw game is discontinued

April 1985

  • First multi-state lottery is approved among Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont to create the Tri-State Lotto Compact
  • Tri-State Lotto Commission consist of a 3 members; one each state. The first commission members were William Varney from Maine; John Marro from New Hampshire and Sarah Vail from Vermont

July 1985

  • “Pick 4 Daily Numbers” game is added

September 1985

  • First Tri-State “Megabucks” game ticket was sold to New Hampshire’s Governor John Sununu
  • Tri-State “Megabucks” starts Saturday draw with a pick 6-of-30 matrix
  • First Tri-State “Megabucks” jackpot winner is Richard Campbell of South Portland, Maine who wins $935,919

January 1986

  • Tri-State “Megabucks” game is changed from a pick 6-of-30 to a pick 6-of-36 matrix

October 1986

  • H. Alan Timm was appointed Director of the Maine State Lottery

June 1987

  • Wallace G. Soule Jr. was appointed Director of the Maine State Lottery

January 1988

  • Tri-State “Megabucks” game is changed from a pick 6-of-36 to a pick 6-of-40 matrix

May 1990

  • Tri-State “Megabucks” adds a Wednesday drawing

July 1990

  • Maine joins the multi-state draw game “Lotto America” with a pick 6-of-54 matrix on Wednesday and Saturday

February 1991

  • Peter Finlay of Cape Elizabeth was the first Maine winner for the “Lotto America” game with a winning jackpot of $3.1 million

April 1992

  • Maine ends its participation in the draw game “Lotto America”
  • Tri-State “Cash 5” begins with a pick 5-of-35 matrix on Tuesdays

July 1992

  • Maine Legislature decides to merge the state's liquor and lottery operations into one administrative agency to be called the Bureau of Alcoholic Beverages and Lottery Operations (BABLO)
  • David S. Campbell was appointed first Director of BABLO

1993

  • Completion of the merger takes place by combining the Liquor Commission and the Lottery Commission into a single 5 member commission whose members are appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Legislature

March 1993

  • Maine State Lottery becomes the first lottery to print its instant tickets on completely recyclable and biodegradable paper while still meeting all established security standards

January 1994

  • First $2 Bingo Instant Ticket is released

June 1995

  • Tri-State “Cash 5” game ends
  • Tri-State “5 Card Cash” game begins and adds a Friday draw

April 1995

  • Eben B. Marsh was appointed Director of BABLO

January 1996

  • Outdoor Heritage Instant Ticket is released with profits dedicated to help protect Maine's environment

June 1996

  • Tri-State “Megabucks” adds a cash option

November 1996

  • First $3 Instant Ticket “Christmas Bonus” is released

March 1997

  • Tri-State “Megabucks” changes matrix from a pick 6-of-40 to a pick 6-of-42 and adds a bonus number

September 1997

  • Tri-State “5 Card Cash” game ends
  • Tri-State “WinCash” game begins

December 1997

  • First $5 instant ticket “Celebrate '98” is released

June 1998

  • Pick3/ Pick4 Daily Numbers games go to seven draws a week

September 1998

  • Pick 3/ Pick 4 Daily Numbers games add Front Pair/ Back Pair play option

February 2002

  • The Tri-State “WinCash” game ends
  • Tri-State “Cash Lotto” game begins

April 2003

  • First $10 instant ticket “$250,000 Cash Spectacular” is released

June 2003

  • “Pick 3/ Pick 4 Daily Numbers” games add a mid day draw

November 2003

  • Tri-State “Cash Lotto” ends
  • Tri-State “Heads Or Tails” game begins with a draw 7 days a week

July 2004

  • Maine joins the multi-state draw game called “Powerball”

January 2005

  • Dan A. Gwadosky was appointed Director of BABLO

June 2005

  • Tri-State “Heads or Tails” game ends
  • Tri-State “Triple Play” game begins

August 2005

  • “Powerball” draw game is changed from pick 5 of 53 +1 of 42 to a pick 5 of 55 +1 of 42

September 2005

  • First $20 Instant Ticket “2,500,000 Extravaganza” is released

October 2005

  • First “1,000,000 Instant Winner” drawing is held

May 2006

  • Tri-State “Add-A-Play” game begins as the first on-line game with an instant win feature

June 2006

  • Boston Red Sox Instant Ticket is released with 2nd chance drawings for game day tickets

January 2007

  • Tri- State “Triple Play” game ends
  • Tri-State “Paycheck” game begins

November 2007

  • First Tri-State $20 New Year Millionaire Raffle ticket is released

April 2008

  • $2,250,000 Extravaganza Instant Winner drawing is held

January 2009

  • Tri-State “Paycheck” game ends
  • Tri-State “Weekly Grand” game begins and offers a top jackpot of $1000 a week for 20 years
  • “Powerball” game changes from pick 5 of 55 + 1 of 42 to a pick 5 of 59 + 1 of 39

July 2009

  • Tri-State “Megabucks” game ends
  • Tri-State “Megabucks Plus” game begins

October 2009

  • Maine joins the multi-state draw game called “Hot Lotto” along with 14 other states

November 2009

  • Pick 3 / Pick 4 Daily Numbers games add a “Single Digit” play option

May 2010

  • Maine joins the multi-state draw game called “Mega Millions”
  • Maine ends its participation in the Tri-State’s “Add-A-Play” draw game

June 2010

  • Maine State Lottery completes the transfer of a record $52.2 million to the State’s General Fund

July 2010

  • New England Patriots Instant Ticket is released with 2nd chance drawings for game day tickets and seasons tickets for the 2011 regular season along with instant win cash prizes

October 2010

  • Maine State Lottery surpasses the $1 billion mark in transfers to the State’s General Fund

April 2011

  • Tri-State Weekly Grand game ends and is replaced with Tri-State Weekly Grand Extra

October 2011

  • Maine releases it’s first $1,000,000 instant win on a $20 instant ticket game called “Maine Millionaire”

February 2012

  • Gerald T. Reid appointed Director, Bureau of Alcoholic Beverages & Lottery Operations

March 2012

  • Tri-State Weekly Grand Extra game ends. Maine joins New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut in launching the first New England Regional game called “Lucky for Life”. Top prize is a $1,000 a day for life.