Massachusetts Celebrates 50th Anniversary Of World’s First Lottery Scratcher

May 29 is an important date in lottery history.

It’s an even bigger date for the Massachusetts Lottery.

On this day in 1974, the state released the first scratch ticket in the global history of the lottery.

The Instant Game” would be the one that started it all.

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the initial scratcher, the Massachusetts Lottery is reintroducing the game for a limited time as a $2 scratch-off.

So, while many instants and lottery draw games are planning for higher prices in the future, the Massachusetts Lottery is dialing it back to where it all started.

First scratch ticket launched on May 29, 1974

The Massachusetts Lottery first became a thing in 1971. However, three years later, the state would make history.

Behind executive director William Perrault, Massachusetts launched the first lottery scratch ticket ever.

“The Instant Game” made its debut on May 29, 1974, at 6 a.m.

A $1 ticket with red and yellow foil featured a top instant prize of $10,000. It also offered a prize of $1,000-a-week-for-life in a secondary drawing for those who purchased the ticket.

Now, on its 50th anniversary, Massachusetts State Lottery Executive Director Mark William Bracken spoke about its importance. He said in a press release:

“With the creation of the first ever instant ticket, the Mass Lottery forever changed the course of the lottery industry. We express our gratitude to our predecessors who were willing to take a chance on an innovative idea upon which we ultimately built our reputation as one of the most successful lotteries in the world.”

“The Instant Game” is back at a $2 price point, with players being able to win up to $50,000 in honor of the 50th anniversary.

There will be a second chance drawing to come with this version, as well.

State Treasurer Deborah B. Goldberg, Chair of the Massachusetts State Lottery Commission, added in the release:

“Over the last 50 years, instant tickets have become a leading product for lotteries across the country, and it all started here in Massachusetts. The new retro ticket is a fun way to celebrate this milestone and to recognize the significance of the original ticket on the entire industry.”

Massachusetts Lottery up nearly $67 million this year

When it comes to lottery sales in Massachusetts, April 2024’s performance was $483.3 million, down about 1% from April 2023 ($487.5 million).

Despite that, the state lottery is still up $66.9 million in sales through 10 months of the fiscal year.

For FY24, Massachusetts is at $5.20 billion, up 1.3% from FY23 at this point ($5.13 billion).

Here’s a look at how its game sales have stacked up this year compared to last:

  • Instant Tickets: $3.39 billion, up 0.4%
  • Keno: $1.05 billion, up 2.2%
  • Powerball: $199 million, up 29.1%
  • Mega Millions: $130.8 million, down 11.6%
  • Numbers Game: $279 million, down 3%
  • Mass Cash: $70.6 million, down 0.2%
  • Lucky for Life: $39.7 million, up 5%
  • Megabucks: $21.8 million, up 33.2%
  • Wheel of Luck: $17.3 million, up 22.8%
  • Holiday Raffle: $3.8 million (wasn’t sold last year)


Photo by jerrysa via Shutterstock
Graphic from the Massachusetts Lottery

About the Author

Drew Ellis

Drew Ellis

Lead Writer
A member of Catena Media since 2020, Drew Ellis is the Lead Writer at PlayiLottery, where he handles coverage of the online and retail lottery industry in the US. He previously spearheaded news content at PlayMichigan, where he covered one of the most prominent online lottery industries in the US — among the many other aspects of Michigan's sprawling iGaming market. You can email him at [email protected].
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