Where It All Began


Back to the beginning - Match 3 ticket back in circulation

The day is Tuesday, September 20, 1988. The weather is breezy, and all Virginians are feeling like winners. It’s an extra lucky day, because the Virginia Lottery sold its first scratch ticket, a $1 game named Match 3. In the first day, more than 5.5 million tickets were sold. And it’s no surprise given its terrific odds, better than 1 in 8.5 for any prize, and a top prize of $5,000. During its launch, there were more than 11 million winning tickets and about $50 million in prize money with 5,000 retailers selling tickets. The Lottery also held many events throughout the state to attract more players.

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On September 20, 2019, Virginia Lottery celebrated its 31st birthday and only a few days later on October 1, 2019 the original instant ticket Match 3 was brought back into circulation. The odds of winning have changed a bit since 1988, now at 1 in 4.65 for any prize , but the game is just as fun!

match 3 ticket

For over 30 years, the Virginia Lottery has been good fun for a great cause, and we couldn’t have gotten this far were it not for the great people who were there at the beginning, some of whom are still working today! In fact, there are several employees who have been with Virginia Lottery since 1988. They can still remember when tickets were ordered by our internal sales representatives by pen over the phone with retailers. Debbie Dreher, who currently is the Sales Analyst in the Sales department looks back fondly on her tenure with the Lottery.

“It has been a wonderful opportunity working for the Virginia Lottery over the past thirty-one years. As you might expect, I have seen many changes as the Virginia Lottery continues to grow. I do not have one regret joining an agency that is responsible for contributing over $9 billion in profits to K-12 public education since 1999.”

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Phil Hankey also has been with Virginia Lottery since 1988. Now he serves as the area manager for the Roanoke region.

“We have experienced so many changes throughout the years! We continue to move forward, facing the challenges that come about while being captains of a cruise ship with thousands of passengers…also known as our retailers.”

Thank you to our 19 day-one employees who have contributed to the long-term success of Virginia Lottery.

Last Modified 10/11/19