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New Mexico Lotteries

In 1994, New Mexico voters approved the formation of a lottery in a public referendum. The legislature then passed Senate Bill 853, the New Mexico Lottery Act, which was signed by Gov. Gary Johnson on 5 April and went into effect on 1 July 1995. On April 27, 1996, New Mexico launched the Lottery with instant tickets. Initially, 60% of net proceeds from the Lottery went to the Public School Capital Outlay Fund and 40% went to the Lottery Tuition Fund. In 2001, this distribution was changed by the legislature so that all Lottery profits were directed to Lottery Tuition Fund for Legislative Lottery Scholarships.

Retailers receive a commission of 6% on their gross ticket sales and a 1% cashing commission on winning tickets sold. Retailers may earn a bonus of between $1,000 and $50,000 if they sell the winning ticket for RoadRunner, Hot Lotto, Mega Millions or Powerball top prizes. By law, the Lottery is required to return at least 50% of proceeds to players in the form of prizes. Winning tickets may be claimed for up to 90 days from the drawing date or the end date of a Scratcher game. After this time, they are considered unclaimed and are paid into the Lottery Prize Fund. These unclaimed prizes are used for instant and drawing game prizes and for second-chance drawings.

In 2005, New Mexico began a collaborative program between the often-separated lottery and casino gaming markets, introducing the first state Lottery scratch-off ticket that is sold and redeemable at a casino – the Santa Ana Star Casino.
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