West Virginia voters approved the Lottery Amendment to the State Constitution on November 6, 1984 by a vote of 67% for the amendment. The West Virginia Legislature passed the Lottery Act in April of 1985 and it was signed into law that May by Governor Arch A. Moore, Jr.
West Virginia’s first instant tickets were sold on January 9, 1986 and more than 1.5 million tickets were sold on that first day. The West Virginia Lottery’s first and only instant game at that time was “West Virginia Jackpot,” and it carried a top prize of $5,000. By year end, the Lottery closed FY 1985-86 with sales of more than $53 million with West Virginia’s General Revenue Fund receiving $20 million of that total.
Today, the West Virginia Lottery produces sales of more than $1.1 billion annually and generates more than $520 million a year for the people of West Virginia. Since its inception, the Lottery has generated more than $9 billion in proceeds that have helped public education, senior services and the state’s tourism industry. West Virginia Lottery players have also won more than $3 Billion in prizes.
West Virginia Lottery proceeds have a direct impact on the quality of life of all West Virginians. The West Virginia Legislature uses lottery proceeds to help improve public education at every level from K through 12 to higher education through support of the School Building Authority, the West Virginia Department of Education, the Higher Education Policy Commission, education improvement bonds and the PROMISE Scholarship Program. Lottery proceeds also help the West Virginia Bureau of Senior Services provide nutrition programs, in-home care services and many other programs and services for West Virginia’s senior citizens. Lottery proceeds also go toward enhancing the State’s growing tourism industry and improving West Virginia’s State Parks.
The Lottery sells more than 40 different instant games a year, offers the popular in-state online drawing games of Keno, Daily 3, Daily 4, and Cash 25, offers the Multi-State Lottery games of Powerball®, Mega Millions® and Hot Lotto, regulates limited video lottery, and regulates video lottery and table games at the state’s four racetrack casinos and the Greenbrier Resort.