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In 1984, Proposition 37 amended the California Constitution to authorize the establishment of a statewide lottery. As an initiative statute, the California State Lottery Act of 1984 created the California State Lottery Commission and gave it broad powers to oversee the operations of a statewide lottery. The purpose of the Lottery Act was to provide supplemental monies to benefit public education without the imposition of additional or increased taxes. The Lottery is administered by a five-person Commission appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the State Senate.

The Lottery Act initially required that 50 percent of total annual revenues be returned to the public in the form of prizes and at least 34 percent of total revenues be allocated to the benefit of public education. No more than 16 percent of total revenues were to be used for administrative costs.

In 2010, the Lottery Act was changed to allow the Lottery flexibility to pay out more money in prizes and reduce the administrative cost limit to 13 percent of total revenues. Along with that flexibility, the new law required the Lottery to meet minimum levels of contribution to public education. Revenues to education are placed in a special fund, known as the California State Lottery Education Fund, which holds revenues until they are allocated on a per capita basis, using prior year certified Average Daily Attendance data, to the following categories: K-12 education, Community Colleges, the California State University, the University of California, and other educational entities.

$34.2 Billion to Public Education Since 1985

In the 33 years since sales began in October 1985 through June 30, 2018, the California State Lottery has raised $34.2 billion for public education, including a record of just more than $1.7 billion in Fiscal Year 2017-18. While that amount is relatively minor compared to public education’s overall budget, it’s still needed money schools are putting to good use.

Our promise to California is to provide supplemental funding to California public education on all levels from kindergarten through higher education, plus several specialized schools. And since we sold our first ticket to the public in 1985, we’ve kept that promise.

Giving Back to Education

We’re proud of the contributions we make to California’s schools and we work hard to increase our funding through efficient business practices. See our current fiscal year quarterly reports. 


See All The Ways We Support Education:

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