The Lottery was established in 1972 by the General Assembly with the enactment of Chapter 365 of the Laws of Maryland. After winning approval from the state's voters in November 1972, the Lottery opened for business on 2 January 1973, selling its first scratch tickets. During the 2007 legislative session, SB3 and HB4 were enacted regarding the legalization of video lottery terminals (VLTs) in the state. SB3 established the operational and regulatory framework for the VLT (slots gambling) program. Among its provisos, it specified that the State Lottery Commission would regulate the operation of VLTs, including licensing of operators. Currently, the Video Lottery Facility Location Commission (VLFLC) is conducting the licensing process for operation of VLT facilities in the state. The State Lottery & Gaming Control Agency (SLGCA) oversees both the Lottery and the Commission.
The Lottery is an independent agency of the state, and as such is operated as a business enterprise within the framework of state laws and regulations. The mission of the Lottery is to provide revenue to the state from the sale of traditional lottery products and through the regulation of a VLT program. The Lottery fulfills this mission by selling both online and instant ticket games.
Lottery tickets are sold and cashed at licensed retail locations throughout Maryland. Lottery retailers or agents are private businesses that receive commissions and fees to sell Lottery games to the public. Transactions are conducted through terminals connected to a computerized online real-time system. The minimum age to buy lottery tickets in Maryland is 18. Licensed agents receive a 5.5% commission of their lottery ticket gross receipts, which increased to 6% in July 2014. The agent may also receive a cashing fee of up to 3% of valid prizes, for cost of services when cashing winning tickets. The SLGCA can authorize the payment of special bonuses or incentives to agents and their employees. These special bonuses or incentives may not exceed 0.5% of the year's gross ticket sales for which the bonuses or incentives were awarded. Net proceeds after commissions are deposited into the State Lottery Fund.
Lottery revenue is given back to players as 60% in prizes; 30% is deposited into the state general fund to support programs in education, public health, public safety and the environment; and the remaining 10% goes to retailer commissions and operational expenses.
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