About the Massachusetts Lottery
Despite being one of the smaller US states in terms of size, Massachusetts' lottery certainly performs in a big way. The Mass lottery has provided a number of US lottery firsts. Of these, the most significant was the introduction of the first US Lotto game in 1978. The original MA Lotto game required players to pick six numbers from 49, but was cancelled after just 13 weeks, after failing to provide big jackpots. The Massachusetts lottery also launched the first ever instant lottery tickets in May 1974 offering a top instant prize of $10,000.
In January 2011, a bill was introduced by Massachusetts State Senator Michael Rush to allow MA lottery tickets to be the first to be sold online via credit cards. However, this wasn't the only time that the Mass lottery went online as the first on-line terminals were installed at MA lottery agents throughout the state way back in 1981.
Since legislation for the Mass state lottery was created on September 27, 1971, the lottery has been in the news many times for good and bad reasons. The good reasons have included a number of huge jackpots handed out by the lottery. One of these was the $18.2 million Megabucks jackpot that was split six ways in March 1984 – a national record at the time. Other big MA lottery jackpots have included $197 million and $363 million Big Game jackpots, a $249 million Mega Millions jackpot, as well as a $640,000,000 Jubilee game in September 2003, which hands out 50 $1 million prizes and 10 $4 million prizes.
In fact, huge lottery jackpots are such a big deal in Massachusetts that sales have been known to go through the roof with more than $10 million worth of tickets being sold on single days.
Another good reason that the MA lottery has appeared in the press has been for the amount of money donated by it to local communities. More than 350 cities and towns in Massachusetts benefit from funds raised with 2011 seeing $898,980,293 handed over to the Bay State's projects.
However, one bad reason did see the Mass Lottery make the headlines. In 1991, a well known Irish gangster name Jamie "Whitey" Bulger claimed to win a $14 million jackpot. We say claimed, as Bulger didn't actually buy the ticket, it was bought by Michael Linskey who had purchased it at the South Boston Liquor Mart owned by Bulger. However, upon collection of the jackpot, Linskey informed the MA lottery that he'd been partners with Bulger and two others who were entitled to a share of the jackpot. Questions were raised as to whether Bulger had employed similar tactics to those he'd used to buy the Liquor Mart in the first place when he threatened to harm the daughter of the stores previous owner if it was not sold to him.
Despite this controversy, the Massachusetts Lottery has remained popular with players, which is no surprise when you look at the range of MA lotto games on offer. Cash WinFall, Mass Cash and Mass Numbers all provide plenty of big wins while Megabucks is especially well known for creating the biggest MA lottery jackpots. Also on offer in the state are the ever-popular Mega Millions and Powerball games, which provide Mass lottery players with even more huge jackpots.