On 14 February 1978, the first game went on sale – a weekly drawing named Green Mountain Game – and the first instant ticket, Scratch 'N Match, was offered on 20 June 1978. The Lottery now offers a variety of instant ticket and draw games.
In July 1998, the legislature established the Vermont Education Fund and mandated that all profits from the Lottery were to be given to the Education Fund. Before the creation of this fund, all profits went to Vermont's general fund.
The original lottery provision also provided for the automatic termination of the Lottery on 30 June 1980, unless an extension was authorized before the end of the 1979 General Assembly. During that session, the Lottery was extended until 30 June 1983. Once lottery revenue achieved a steady upward trend, the 1981 General Assembly removed the sunset or termination clauses.
Licensed retailers are located statewide in grocery, convenience and chain stores; restaurants; redemption centers; and drugstores. Lottery agents receive a 5.75% commission on all Tri-State games and instant ticket sales. They also receive a 6% commission on all Powerball, Hot Lotto, Mega Millions and Lucky for Life (Multi State Lottery Association and New England games) ticket sales. In addition, agents receive a 1% bonus, which is capped at $30,000, for selling winning tickets of $500 or more. The bonus commission is paid when the winning ticket is claimed. An agent may pay a player up to $499 on instant and online winning; however, any amount over that must be claimed at Vermont Lottery headquarters or at Vermont People's United Banks, which can redeem any instant cash prize of $200 to $5,000 and any online cash prize from $500 to $5,000. A person must be 18 years or older to purchase a Vermont lottery ticket.
To become a licensed Lottery agent, retailers must submit a refundable $250 deposit and $15 license fee with a completed application to the Lottery Commission. An on-site evaluation is conducted to determine if the business is suitable to be licensed as a Lottery Agent. Notification is sent once the application is approved.
In 1985, Vermont, along with Maine and New Hampshire, formed the Tri-State Megabucks game. Sales began on 3 September 1985, and the first drawing took place on 14 September 1985. In June 1996, the Tri-State game was enhanced to include the Mega Cash option, which allowed jackpot winners to take their portion of the jackpot prize as a one-time payment. Players had to decide within 60 days of claiming the jackpot how they wanted to receive their winnings. In July 2009, Tri-State Megabucks was replaced with Tri-State Megabucks Plus.
On 1 July 2003, Powerball tickets first went on sale in Vermont, with the drawing held the following day, and Mega Millions was first offered on 31 January 2010, with the first drawing on 2 February 2010. Players may purchase Powerball, Megabucks Plus, Mega Millions and Hot Lotto subscriptions through the mail as long as they have a Vermont mailing address. The Lottery Instant Scratch tickets cannot be purchased through the mail or over the internet.
By law, the Lottery must return at least 50% of gross revenue to players in the form of prizes. All prizes for an instant game must be claimed within one year after the game is closed. For all other Lottery games, the player has 365 calendar days from the winning draw date to claim the prize.
The Vermont Lottery withholds federal and state taxes for prizes valued over $5,000.
In 2013, the Lottery introduced 100 WinStations, a self-service Lottery vending machine, at different licensed retailer locations.
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