Washington’s Lottery: Where the Money Goes

When Washington’s Lottery was established in 1982, its purpose was to provide revenue for the State General Fund, which supports schools, human services programs, natural resources, and other government programs.

In 2000, voters approved an action for Washington’s Lottery proceeds to primarily benefit education. More than 20 years later, Washington’s Lottery continues to make a difference across Washington state as a proud financial supporter of several important education programs.

Since its inception, Washington’s Lottery has generated more than $4.5 billion for programs benefiting Washington. In fiscal year (FY) 2021 alone, Washington’s Lottery contributed a total of $229 million to its beneficiaries.

One education beneficiary Washington’s Lottery is especially proud to support is the Washington Opportunity Pathways Account (WOPA). In FY21, WOPA received more than $185 million from the Lottery.  

Of the WOPA funds, Washington’s Lottery provides enough money to pay college tuition for more than 18,000 Washington residents.  It also gives $40 million annually to the state’s Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP), which provides critical services to more than 15,000 children at 440 locations across the state. That $40 million is an impactful investment for a program that has lasting positive effects on children, such as increased college enrollment, grade progression, and high school graduation.

Record sales in FY21 also allowed increased contributions to other beneficiaries of Washington’s Lottery, including $14.2 million to the Stadium and Exhibition Center Account (Lumen Field), $23.9 million to the General Fund, $4.7 million to the Economic Development Account, and revenue to combat problem gambling. 

Of course, sales for the Lottery in FY21 could not have been possible without its dedicated players and retailer partners. Last fiscal year alone, players collected $604 million in prizes, while retailers earned more than $47 million in annual sales commission. These earnings can have quite an effect on communities across the state, as winners tend to spend and invest money into their local communities, and Lottery sales often make a big difference for small merchants.

From children attending pre-school, to the student receiving a college grant, to the convenience store owner supporting their family, Washington’s Lottery continues to contribute to the well-being of others with its proceeds. When you play, the entire state benefits. Visit walottery.com for additional information.