Sen. Mattie Hunter

SPRINGFIELD — State Senator Mattie Hunter advanced a bill that will equitably distribute proceeds from specialty lottery scratch-off tickets, as well as create two new causes to provide educational opportunities to Black and Brown youth.

“By establishing a Joint Special Instant Scratch-Off Game, we are providing an opportunity for our residents to contribute to causes that make a meaningful impact in our communities,” said Hunter (D-Chicago). “This legislation will streamline operations and better distribute proceeds — ultimately benefiting both the Illinois Lottery and the causes it supports.”

Senate Bill 1508 amends the Illinois Lottery Law by introducing a Joint Special Instant Scratch-Off Game, which will combine specialty causes into one ticket — limited to 10 causes at any given time — and split the proceeds equally among the causes. Currently, there are eight separate specialty cause scratch-off games benefiting breast cancer research, veterans assistance, multiple sclerosis research, HIV/AIDS prevention, Special Olympics, police memorials, homelessness prevention programs, and Alzheimer’s care. Under the current structure, the Illinois Lottery faces several challenges, including disproportionate proceeds from various specialty games.

In addition to combining causes into a single ticket, this legislation adds two new specialty causes each dedicated to funding scholarships — the United Negro College Fund Illinois scratch-off to support to students attending Historically Black Colleges and Universities in Illinois, and the Illinois DREAM scratch-off to provide financial assistance to non-citizens who are pursuing higher education in the state. A new Illinois Lottery Special Instant Scratch-Off Task Force will study future causes and make recommendations related to games and revenue.

“Adding UNCF and DREAM to this ticket will have a positive and lasting impact on the educational opportunities available to Black and Brown youth in our state,” Hunter said. “These are all great causes to support, and by using a joint game, we can do so easily and fairly.”

Senate Bill 1508 passed both chambers and heads to the governor for final approval.