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The Tennessee Lottery is run by the Tennessee Education Lottery Corporation (TELC), which was created on June 11, 2003 by the Tennessee General Assembly. TELC derives its legal authority from the Tennessee Education Lottery Implementation Law, which the General Assembly passed in accordance with a November 2002 amendment to the state constitution establishing the lottery and approved by 58 percent of the voters.
The TELC is responsible for the operation of a lottery, and is deemed to be acting in all respects for the benefit of the people of Tennessee. It is a member of the Multi-State Lottery Association (MUSL); it participates in the Mega Millions and Powerball games.
The TELC sold its first ticket on January 20, 2004. On July 28, 2007, Tennessee switched from ball drawings to those using a random number generator (RNG). However, Powerball (which moved its drawings from MUSL's Iowa headquarters to Florida in 2009) continues to be ball-drawn; likewise, Mega Millions is ball-drawn in Atlanta, with the Megaplier RNG selection conducted in Texas, as California does not have the Megaplier option.
Tennessee began its third multi-jurisdictional jackpot game, Hot Lotto, on May 12, 2013; it is the game's 16th member. On that date, Hot Lotto changed its double matrix and how the jackpot is to be advertised.
Tennessee also has an in-state jackpot game, Tennessee Cash, which replaced Pick 5 in October 2010.
People must be at least 18 years of age to purchase or redeem TELC tickets; only cash can be used to purchase lottery tickets.
Player and beneficiary statistics
Nationwide, and presumably in Tennessee, the heaviest lottery players (top 20 percent) are nearly twice as likely to lack a high school diploma and have a household income below $10,000 as the population as whole. Recipients from families with an annual income over $72,000 make up 47% of the Tennessee Education Lottery Scholarships awarded.
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Cash 3 is drawn three times daily, except once on Sundays. It draws 3 digits, each 0 through 9. Prices, prizes, and options vary.
Cash 4 also is drawn 19 times weekly; it draws a four-digit number in the same fashion as Cash 3.
Tennessee Cash is drawn Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. It draws six numbers in the style of Mega Millions and Powerball. The top prize increases (e.g., a jackpot) if there is no top prize winner.
Hot Lotto is played in 15 states and the District of Columbia. It also is drawn Wednesdays and Saturdays. Hot Lotto draws five "white balls" numbered from 1 through 47, and one orange "Hot Ball", numbered 1 through 19. The jackpots begin at $1,000,000 (all-cash, and "taxes-paid"), increasing by at least $50,000 if there is no top prize winner. Hot Lotto also has an option, called Sizzler (similar to the original version of Powerball's Power Play); it triples non-jackpot prizes.
Originally, Hot Lotto drew from 39 "white balls"; jackpots were paid in 25 yearly installments unless the cash option was chosen.
Since 2004, Tennessee has been a member of MUSL. Powerball began in 1992. Its jackpots begin at $40 million; it is drawn Wednesday and Saturday nights.
On October 13, 2009, the Mega Millions consortium and MUSL reached an agreement in principle to cross-sell Mega Millions and Powerball in US lottery jurisdictions. On November 2, 2009, the Tennessee Education Lottery Board of Directors voted to add Mega Millions. As part of adding Mega Millions, the TELC discontinued Lotto Plus. The TELC joined Mega Millions on January 31, 2010.
- Tennessee Secretary of State (November 5, 2002). "Constitutional Amendment Questions". Retrieved 17 March 2013.
- Staff (2013). "Tennessee Lottery for Education, Amendment 1 (2002)". Ballotpedia.com. Retrieved 17 March 2013.
- Chronology, Tennessee Lottery website
- Staff (2013). "Tennessee Lottery FAQs". Tennessee Lottery. Retrieved 17 March 2013.
- Clotfelter, Charles, et al. State Lotteries at the Turn of the Century: Report to the National Gambling Impact Study Commission. Duke University, Sanford Institute for Public Policy, June 1, 1999: Table 12.
- Winchester, Katie, et al. Tennessee Higher Education Commission: Tennessee Education Lottery Scholarship Program Annual Report. January 2007: Table 7.