October 23, 2021
General Winner Stories

From Humble Beginnings to massive education funding

From Humble Beginnings to massive education funding


The New York Lottery officially began in 1967 after a vote, by New Yorkers on November 8th 1966, for a government-run lottery with the proceeds being applied exclusively to, or in aid or support of, education. Prior to this, informal New York lotteries were used for non-educational needs.


Its first slogan was “Your Chance of a Lifetime to Help Education” and to date the lottery has generated over $34 billion to aid education revenue. Today it is a part of the New York State Gaming Commission, and still provides much needed revenue for public education.


The first big winner of the New York Lottery was Lou Eisenberg, who won $5,000,000 in 1981. Back then, winners could not choose cash in lieu of annuity payments, so Lou was paid out in installments.



Despite being the U.S. lottery with the highest number of sales, the New York lottery has been criticised for offering the lowest pay outs, at no more than 40 cents per dollar earned. In the 2011-2012 period sales were down nearly 15% from the previous year.


Some of the Laws Governing the New York Lottery include the fact that lottery winners are subject to Federal Income Tax, as well as Local Income Tax if they are New York residents. Players must be at least 18 years old even if playing the video lottery; however, if a Quick Draw ticket is issued at a place where alcohol is served the minimum age is 21.



To date the biggest winner of the New York Lottery is Mr. Harold Diamond, who purchased a Mega Millions Lotto Ticket, from a gas station.  He was the sole winner of $326 million dollars. Mr. Diamond thanks his wife for the win as they were on their way out for supper, when bad weather made them re-think their trip and his wife insisted they stop for supper at the station. The retired educator, who was 80 years old when he won the lottery, opted for the lump sum instead of 30 annual payments. The former educator received $197.45 million, the rest of which accounts for state and federal taxes.


If you choose the lump sum rather than the extended payout, you will receive much less money than the advertised jackpot value, generally slightly more than half. However if you choose the extended payout option, the state takes the present cash value of the jackpot and buys an annuity or bonds that will generate interest to fund the future payments and you receive the Jackpot amount less the various taxes.

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