NASHVILLE - Tennessee Lottery President & CEO Rebecca Paul today announced the first lottery tickets will go on sale January 20 - a full three weeks earlier than originally anticipated.
In moving up the Lottery's launch date from the original date of February 10, Paul noted that additional ticket sales will generate "millions more dollars" in college scholarships for Tennessee students this year.
"All the pieces are in place for a successful early kickoff," Paul told Lottery board members during a conference call this afternoon. "That's good news for Tennessee students who will be attending college this fall on the first Lottery-funded scholarships."
Paul lauded the efforts of dozens of Lottery employees who were integral in helping make the early startup a reality.
"I'm proud to say this is one of the fastest and most effective U.S. lottery startups in more than a decade," Paul said. "That's thanks in no small part to the exceptional team of professionals who are working hard to make the Tennessee Lottery a success for education."
One critical element in the early startup, Paul said, has been the rapid development of a strong statewide retail network. Lottery employees have been working long hours for weeks to conduct criminal background checks, credit checks, tax checks and on thousands of independent and corporate retailers across the state.
By the time tickets go on sale, nearly 3,000 retailers - from Memphis to Bristol - will be installed with the computer terminals and satellite dishes necessary to conduct lottery games. Hundreds of retailers will be added in the weeks to come.
Initially, the Tennessee Lottery will launch with four "instant" games. The colorful tickets, which will contain fields of play that players must scratch in order to win, will offer prizes ranging from a free ticket to $1 million.
Additional instant games will be added as time goes on. Within 60 days after instant tickets go on sale, the Lottery will add computerized games in which players will pick numbers prior to televised drawings.
All Lottery profits will go to education. Most immediately, the Lottery is charged with raising at least $88 million by July 1 in order to fund scholarships for an estimated 65,000 students expected to attend Tennessee colleges and universities next fall.
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