This is the 50-year anniversary of the first Massachusetts State Lottery drawing prize
Donald Cosentino of Gardner bought his five children bikes and a camper for his family after he became the first to win a top prize in a Massachusetts State Lottery drawing.
“We have five children and I bought them all bicycles,” Cosentino told the lottery. “I was a foremen at a furniture factory. We also bought a camper so that we could all go camping together. We were able to put the money to good use.”
Cosentino was one of seven people to win $50,000 from the game in 1972. Now 87 years old, he’s still living in Gardner with his wife, Aline, in the same house that they lived in 50 years ago, the lottery said.
“Today is a special day in the Lottery’s history,” said State Treasurer Deborah B. Goldberg, chair of the Massachusetts State Lottery Commission. “Our first drawing was just the beginning of 50 Years of Winning, and our very first top prize winner was one of many who have been able to turn their Lottery win into lasting memories for their families.”
At the time, the tickets cost 50 cents each and a total of 4.78 million tickets were sold.
There were also 38 people who won $2,500, 467 people won $250 and 4,332 players won $25.
In 1971, legislation created a state lottery in Massachusetts. It sold its first ticket on March 22, 1972 and its first drawing was on April 6, 1972.
Two years later, Massachusetts became the first state to sell instant tickets, the lottery’s website states.
The lottery “has generated over $137 billion in revenues, awarded over $96 billion in prizes, returned over $30 billion in net profit to the Commonwealth for unrestricted local aid provided to cities and towns, and paid over $7.8 billion in commissions and bonuses to its statewide network of retailers,” it said.