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Virginia Lotteries

The Virginia Lottery was legalized in 1987 via a ballot referendum. The Lottery's first ticket, scratch game Match 3, was sold on 20 September 1988. The Lottery is an independent agency in Virginia and, as such, is separate from other branches of the Commonwealth. A governor-appointed five-member board approves regulations and oversees operations of the Lottery, including price points, prizes, prize payment, drawings, and licensing and compensation of retailers. The board also adjudicates appeals for the rejection, suspension or cancellation of retailers' licenses. Board members serve five-year terms. Lottery proceeds were initially distributed as decided by the General Assembly. In 1989, lottery proceeds went to capital construction projects, and from 1990 through 1998, they were transferred to the state's general fund. In 1999, a state budget amendment earmarked lottery proceeds to be used exclusively for educational purposes. In 2000, voters approved the formation of the State Lottery Proceeds Fund to distribute all Lottery profits, which have been about 30% of lottery sales, for educational purposes. The State Lottery Proceeds Fund is now a permanent part of Virginia's Constitution.

An unclaimed prize may be redeemed for up to 180 days after the drawing or game has ended. After this time, all unclaimed prizes are turned over to the Literary Proceeds Fund of the Commonwealth, a special non-reverting fund created wholly for the benefit of public education in the Commonwealth.

The lottery offers a variety of instant scratch and traditional draw games. Players can buy a subscription online or by mail to either Mega Millions or Win For Life if they have a Virginia mailing address. Lottery games may be purchased with cash, debit cards and prepaid gift cards. Credit card purchases are not allowed.

In April 2013, the Lottery extended GTECH's contract for an online central system, self-service lottery products, multimedia messaging display units, and instant-ticket warehousing and distribution services through 27 October 2017.
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