The New Jersey State Lottery has been in business for over 42 years. Following a 1969 voter referendum, which overwhelmingly approved the establishment of a state lottery, the New Jersey State Constitution was amended, allowing for the establishment of a lottery. New Jersey’s Lottery Law was passed in early 1970. The state’s first ticket was sold to then-Governor William T. Cahill in Dec. 1970, and since that time the lottery has not looked back. It recently generated a record $2.76 billion in sales for the fiscal year ending June 2012, topping fiscal year 2011 sales by more than $122 million.
By statute, the entire net proceeds of the lottery are to be used for state institutions and state aid for education. In fiscal year 2012, the lottery’s record-breaking results delivered over $950 million to programs for education, veterans and the developmental disabled, along with numerous other state institutions. Significantly, the lottery has continued to grow and thrive, even following the legalization of casino gambling in New Jersey in 1977 and the growth of that industry for decades thereafter. Certainly the significance of the lottery as a revenue generator for state programs cannot be understated. So the question many have asked is, “Why mess with a good thing?”
Originally published in New Jersey Lawyer Magazine on April 10, 2013.
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