The legislature also created a five-member commission that includes the State Treasurer as Chairperson, the Secretary of Public Safety, the State Comptroller and two appointees of the Governor to provide direction to and final approval of the type of games, consumer prices, prize structures, prize payment methods and the licensing of retail agents. Lottery funds are distributed to Massachusetts cities and towns, which choose how they will spend the funds.
The Lottery has a statewide network of retail sales agents located in chain stores, supermarkets, gas stations, and convenience stores. The agents sell tickets daily, earning a 5% commission on sales and a 1% bonus on prizes claimed at their location. A retailer averages about $37,000 in annual earnings from selling Lottery games.
In May 1974, the Lottery offered The Instant Game tickets as an alternative to the weekly jackpot game. This was the industry's first instant ticket game and awarded a top prize of $10,000. In 1978, the Lottery began selling the first lotto-type game in the U.S.; however, the game was canceled within three months due to lackluster sales.
In 1981, the Lottery installed computer wagering terminals at retail agent locations throughout the state.
In 1992, the Lottery began licensing certain agents, primarily restaurants, bars and private social clubs, to sell pull-tabs, where the player pulls a tab on a card to uncover symbols indicating a win or loss and, for a win, the prize amount.
In July 1993, lawmakers passed legislation authorizing keno, a monitor game where players can choose up to 12 numbers or spots and a computer randomly selects 20 winning numbers and displays the results on the game monitor. The Lottery held the first keno drawing on September 30 of the same year.
In February 2003, to enhance revenue benefiting the state's cities and towns, intervals between keno games were reduced from every five minutes to every four minutes, resulting in an immediate increase in revenue.
In March 2008, the Keno-to-Go game was introduced, which enabled players to make keno bets at retailer locations and then check their game results, elsewhere, online.
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