Lottery profits are deposited into the Illinois Common School Fund (CSF), the Lottery's major benefactor, which supports public education. Lottery profits do not increase the state's education funding, but are part of their annual allotment.
Initially, the Lottery held successful weekly drawings. However, after the newness of the Lottery passed, revenues dropped significantly. In 1980, amid controversy over closing the Lottery, Pick 3, its first terminal game, was introduced. Pick 3 breathed new life into the Lottery, boosting sales to $164 million during its first full year of operation.
In May 2008, the Illinois Chamber of Commerce announced support of Gov. Rod Blagojevich's proposal to expand gaming in the state and to lease the Lottery to a private company. In September 2008, the House Revenue Committee voted to move forward with the privatization plan and in September 2010, Gov. Pat Quinn awarded the lottery contract to Northstar Lottery Group – a joint venture of GTECH and Scientific Games.
In December 2011, online lottery sales were approved by state and federal authorities. With Northstar's assistance, the Lottery launched an internet sales pilot project for Lotto and Mega Millions on 25 March 2012, making Illinois the first state to allow online lottery sales.
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