Georgia Lottery History

Interested in learning about the Georgia lottery history? The Georgia Lottery Corporation, known as the Georgia Lottery, is overseen by the government of Georgia, United States. Headquartered in Atlanta, the lottery takes in over US$1 billion yearly. By law, half of the money goes to prizes, one-third to education, and the remainder to operating and marketing the lottery. The education money funds the HOPE Scholarship, and has become a successful model for other lotteries, including the South Carolina Education Lottery.

Georgia Lottery History

A government-run lottery was explicitly allowed in a 1992 constitutional amendment to Article I, Section II, Paragraph VIII of the Georgia State Constitution, approved in a referendum. The GLC was created by a separate bill in 1992 by the Georgia General Assembly, and then-governor of Georgia, Zell Miller, in the Lottery for Education Act (OCGA 50-27). Rebecca Paul, who began the Florida Lottery, then ran the Georgia Lottery for its first decade, before leaving to launch Tennessee Lottery in 2004.

The original in-house weekly jackpot game, Lotto Georgia, merged with two similar games in 2001 to become Lotto South, in an attempt create larger jackpots. In February 2006, Lotto South ended.

In the mid-1990s, Georgia, then offering Powerball for the first time, joined The Big Game (now Mega Millions) when it began in 1996. Several days after Georgia began selling The Big Game tickets, it was forced to leave the Multi-State Lottery Association (MUSL), which continues to administer Powerball. (In October 2009, an agreement was reached between Mega Millions and the Powerball group allowing Mega Millions and Powerball tickets to be available, simultaneously, by each US lottery. Most lotteries, including Georgia’s, offered both games beginning January 31, 2010.

Current draw games

In-house draw games
Instant games
Instant games are scratch tickets also called “scratch-offs”. A player scratches a thin film from the ticket to see if the ticket is a winner. The prizes are smaller than other lottery games, but there are better odds. There are dozens of instant games on sale at any time, and the selection of games changes frequently. They range in price from $1 to $30.

Cash 3

Cash 3 is played three times daily. Three machines, each containing balls numbered 0 through 9, are used; one ball is drawn from each machine. Play styles vary: for example, a $1 “straight” bet (a player guesses a three-digit number will be drawn in exact order) pays $500 for a winning ticket. Other options of play include “Box” (any order), “Straight Box”($.50 for a straight play and $.50 for a boxed play), Front Pair (where you must match the first two numbers drawn in the exact order), and Back Pair (where you must match the last two numbers drawn in the exact order). Cash 3 began August 10, 1993. The first Cash 3 numbers that were drawn were 1-7-0.

Cash 4

Cash 4 also is drawn three times daily; it is played similarly to Cash 3, except four ball machines are used. A $1 “straight” wager (see above) wins $5,000 for a winning ticket. Cash 4 began April 6, 1997.

Georgia Five

Georgia Five is a 5-digit numbers game. Georgia 5 is drawn twice daily; it has a top prize of $10,000. It was introduced on August 1, 2010. Georgia Five is different from most pick-3 and pick-4 games; players do not choose straight, box, or similar wagers. The top prize is won by matching all five numbers in exact order; a player wins by matching at least the first or last digit (the ways to win are shown here).

Fantasy 5

Fantasy 5 is a once daily game that draws 5 of 42 numbers(was 39 before 10-04-2015). Games are $1 per play. Jackpots begin at $125,000 and increase if there is no top prize winner. Fantasy 5 also has an eZmatch option for an additional $1 per game. Matching the ticket’s Fantasy 5 numbers to any of the eZmatch numbers within the ticket wins a cash prize. The eZmatch option can be won up to five times on each ticket. Fantasy 5 has been played since November 14, 1994.


Keno is played every four minutes at many lottery retailers. Twenty numbers from 1 through 80 are selected and displayed on a monitor. Players choose 1 to 10 numbers. Keno has a multiplier option, for an extra $1 per play, that multiplies prizes by 1x, 2x, 3x, 5x or 10x.

Multi-jurisdictional games

Main article: Cash4Life
Georgia joined Cash4Life on August 29, 2016. (The game also is available in Florida, Indiana, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Virginia.)

Players choose 5 of 60 numbers in one field, and 1 of 4 green “Cash Ball” numbers in the second field. Live drawings are held on Monday and Thursday evenings at 9pm Eastern Time on Livestream. The top prize (win or share) $1,000-per-day-for-life. Second prize is $1,000-per-week-for-life. Unlike the former multi-state draw game Win for Life (see below), winners of a “lifetime” prize can choose cash in lieu of the lifetime annuity.

Mega Millions

In the mid-1990s, Georgia helped launch The Big Game (now Mega Millions) when it began in 1996. (Its drawings usually are held in Atlanta.) Mega Millions players choose six numbers for $2; five “white ball” numbers, 1 through 70, and a sixth (Mega Ball) number, 1 through 25. (The Mega Ball number can be a duplicate of a “white ball” number.) The minimum jackpot is $40 million. Mega Millions replaced The Big Game in 2002. The Megaplier option, initially available only in Texas, was made available to Georgia’s players on November 7, 2010.


In October 2009, an agreement was reached allowing Mega Millions and Powerball tickets to be sold through US lotteries then with either game. Georgia, which joined Powerball in 1995, and sold The Big Game and Powerball tickets for a few days in 1996 before being forced out of Powerball, rejoined Powerball on January 31, 2010.

Powerball began in 1992; the Power Play option in 2001. In January 2012, the price of a Powerball play increased to $2, or $3 with Power Play.

Retired multi-state draw games

Monopoly Millionaires’ Club
Monopoly Millionaires’ Club (MMC) began sales on October 19, 2014 in 22 states and the District of Columbia. Due to unexpectedly poor sales, and an unexpected early jackpot win, only 10 MMC drawings were held.

A television game show featuring MMC contestants aired from March 28, 2015 to 2016; later episodes were for contestants who won access to the show via a scratch ticket; the scratch tickets were printed after the draw game ended.

Decades of Dollars

Decades of Dollars began in 2011; it was launched in Georgia, Kentucky, and Virginia as an alternative game to Win for Life. (Arkansas joined a few months after DoD began.) DoD was replaced by Monopoly Millionaires′ Club in Arkansas, Georgia, and Kentucky; in 2015, Virginia ended sales of DoD.

Winners had the choice of $250,000 per year in 30 installments, or $4,000,000 cash.

Win for Life

Win for Life replaced Lotto South in 2006. It was offered in Georgia, Kentucky, and Virginia; it was a 6-of-42 game that drew a seventh number (the “Free Ball”) for lower-tier prizes. Top prize was $1,000-a-week-for-life; there was never a gamewide “cash option”, unlike the current Cash4Life (although Virginia offered it when the game began.) Win for Life ended as a Virginia-only game with a cash option.

Lotto South

Lotto South was offered in Georgia, Kentucky, and Virginia from 2001 to 2006 (it was a 6-of-49 game, using the same matrix as the Virginia-only game that preceded it.)

Now you know all about the Georgia lottery history!