Lottery to host Facebook Live event tonight
By Kate Northrop
Today marks the New Jersey Lottery's 50th year in operation, and to round off the year-long celebration, it will be hosting a Facebook Live event where 50 players will have the chance to receive $500 in scratch-off tickets.
The New Jersey Lottery sold its first ticket to former Governor William Cahill on December 16, 1970. Back then, tickets cost only 50 cents. Now, the Lottery has grown to offer more games and player experiences, more prizes, and higher contributions to the State.
In the Lottery's first year, ticket sales totaled over $137 million with more than $62 million awarded in prizes and over $41 million allocated toward educations and institutions. In the 2019 fiscal year, those figures have swelled immensely — ticket sales soared beyond $3.4 billion, players received more than $2 billion in prizes, and contributions to the State reached $1.1 billion.
"Anniversaries are a time to remember and to celebrate," James A. Carey, Jr., the Lottery's Executive Director said in a press release. "We remember that New Jersey voters took a chance on the Lottery and it was a winner. We remember the hard work of our partners, the smiles of our winners, and the entertainment brought to our players. We remind everyone of some of New Jersey's pioneering accomplishments, such as launching the country's first computer generated lottery numbers game, presenting the first Internet Lottery game in the U.S., and becoming the first lottery in America to livestream drawings on the Internet."
For the past year, the Lottery has been celebrating its 50th Anniversary by holding milestone events across the state, where attendees 18 and over received over $50,000 in various prizes. Some might remember the biggest attraction, the giant CA$HNADO machine — a life-size prize globe in which two contestants attempt to grab as much blowing confetti as possible.
In March, the Lottery also released literally its biggest instant game ever: the Super 50 Scratch-Off that measured a full 8 inches wide and 12 inches tall. The game was more than double the size of any prior scratch-off ticket in the state and had to be housed in special "double-wide" bins at most of the state's 7,000 Lottery retailers. The game is still active, with one out of five top prizes of $50,000 remaining and six of 32 second-tier prizes of $10,000 left. Tickets are $10 each.
The celebration will wrap up with tonight's live event hosted on Facebook.
"We plan on celebrating this Golden Anniversary with our Garden State fans by holding an online event where players can enter to win prizes and have fun while learning about our history," Carey said today. "This year has been filled with excitement, big wins and a change from live to digital events. Hopefully, it will allow us to be able to bring some good fortune to many people in an otherwise turbulent year."
The Virtual Anniversary Day Celebration will go live tonight, Dec. 16, at 6:30 pm on the official NJ Lottery Facebook page, where participants can respond to a question announced during the event to enter for the chance to win prizes. Players are also encouraged to share lottery stories, answer trivia questions, and enjoy the entertainment.
"January started off with a bang when we were able to celebrate with hundreds of players from around the state," Carey added. "As challenges were presented, we met them with creativity and by pulling together as a team. We can't wait for this last opportunity to surprise and delight our players this year."