Published: May 25, 2021

#VaxToWin: Governor Hogan, Maryland Lottery Announce $2 Million Promotion For Vaccinations

Watch Gordon Medenica comments here

For Immediate Release                                                                     

May 25, 2021


For Information, Contact:

Carole Bober Gentry

410-230-8725 (office)

410-365-6384 (cell)

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Baltimore County Resident is First VaxCash Promotion Winner

Collaboration between Governor’s Office, Lottery, Maryland Department of Health holds first drawing


(Baltimore) – The Maryland Lottery today drew the first winner in the $2 Million VaxCash Promotion, an unprecedented collaboration of the Maryland Lottery and Maryland Department of Health (MDH) initiated by Governor Larry Hogan. The promotion will award $2 million in cash prizes to a total of 41 Maryland residents who have received COVID-19 vaccinations.


Daily drawings from May 25 through July 3 will award one winner each day a $40,000 prize. The first $40,000 winner drawn on May 25 is a resident of Baltimore County.


The promotion culminates with one final drawing on the Fourth of July when one lucky Marylander will win a $400,000 prize.


Each day at approximately 11 a.m., the Maryland Lottery will announce the winner’s hometown or home county. MDH, the custodian of the state’s vaccination records, will contact each winner asking them to sign an authorization form, giving MDH permission to provide the winner’s name to the Lottery to begin the prize-claiming process. Winners will have the option to remain anonymous, and their identities will not be provided to the Lottery without their written authorization.


Each Maryland resident age 18 or older who has been vaccinated at a non-Federal facility in Maryland has been randomly assigned a number in a secure system maintained by MDH. Separately, the Lottery is using a random number generator to select a winning number each day from the total number of people who have been vaccinated.


“This is an extraordinary program that we’re excited to be part of,” said Maryland Lottery and Gaming Director Gordon Medenica. “Getting more people vaccinated is good all the way around – for the state, for businesses, and for the Lottery as well.”


Prizes will be paid from the Lottery’s marketing budget – money that has already been allocated for advertising and promoting Lottery games – and will not diminish the Lottery’s contribution to the Maryland General Fund.


Since its inception in 1973, the Maryland Lottery has awarded more than $28.2 billion in prizes to players and contributed nearly $17.3 billion to the State of Maryland. One of Maryland’s largest revenue sources, the Lottery supports important state programs and services including education, public safety and health, human resources and the environment. For more information, go to Please remember to play responsibly and within your budget. For confidential help or information about gambling problems, visit or call 1-800-426-2537.





Carole Bober Gentry

Managing Director, Communications

Maryland Lottery and Gaming

1800 Washington Blvd., Suite 330

Baltimore, MD 21230

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

(410) 230-8725 | Facebook | Twitter 


Maryland Lottery and Gaming contributed $1.113 billion
to the State of Maryland in FY2020. 
Please play responsibly.


“We do not know who the actual winner is, and we will not know until the Maryland Department of Health gets in touch with them and gets their consent,” said Carole Gentry, the Maryland Lottery’s Managing Director of Communications.

Gentry answered some of WJZ’s questions about the drawings, which are an incentive to get people vaccinated. As of Wednesday, about 56 percent of Marylanders have received one shot. State officials are looking closely at the numbers to see if the lottery increases demand. In Ohio, demand is up 28 percent since that state’s lottery announcement.

So who is eligible and are you automatically entered? Gentry says anyone aged 18 and older who lives in Maryland and was vaccinated in the state. “The only exclusion is if you were vaccinated at a federal facility in the state of Maryland because the federal government is not sharing that information with the Maryland Department of Health,” Gentry told WJZ Investigator Mike Hellgren.

She said if you have not gotten the shot, you should do so as quickly as possible to increase your odds.

“There’s 39 more days of 40 thousand dollar prizes and that grand prize. If I have not been vaccinated, I want to go out and get it right now because I want to be in that pool for all of those drawings coming up,” said Gentry. “I want a better chance of winning.”

What happens if you win? “The Maryland Department of Health will contact you via phone and email and ask if you consent to release information,” Gentry said. “If they don’t want it, if we can’t reach them after making great effort, we can go to an alternate.” She said you cannot win twice.

When do they announce the daily winners? Gentry said by 11 a.m. they will post at least the location of the winner publicly.

How do they protect privacy? The state attaches a number to everyone’s name.

Several states have similar vaccine lotteries. Maryland got tips from them.

“The Kentucky lottery shared information with us, the Ohio lottery. Now, there are lots and lots of other lotteries who are reaching out to us because they want to know how to make this work,” Gentry said.

The buzzy promotion is getting some mixed reaction. “To me, it’s a total waste of taxpayer money,” Norm Albert told WJZ. But Henry Starks Jr. called it “a great idea” and said he hopes more people will get the shot. “It’s better for your health and better for everyone.”

The prize money—totaling $2 million—is coming from the lottery’s marketing fund.

Maryland’s grand prize $400,000 drawing is July 4th.

For the latest information on coronavirus go to the Maryland Health Department’s website or call 211. You can find all of WJZ’s coverage on coronavirus in Maryland here.

© Public Gaming Research Institute. All rights reserved.