Lottery Marks 50th Anniversary of First Drawing with $1 Million Promotion, and Memories of a Longtime Lottery Fan

May 23, 2023 | Government

Alice Greene, a lifelong resident of the Baltimore area, shows her collection of 11 Twin Win tickets from the Maryland Lottery’s first drawing on May 24, 1973.

Thanks for Playing Promotion celebrates inaugural drawing

Baltimore, MD (May 22, 2023) — The Maryland Lottery will commemorate the most historic date of its 50th anniversary year on May 24 with a one-day promotion that will award more than $1 million to Lottery players.

On May 24, 1973, the Lottery held its first drawing, awarding a $50,000 prize in the Twin Win game. Fifty years to the day later, the Lottery will offer the Thanks for Playing Promotion, a one-day event that will award more than 15,000 cash vouchers to Lottery customers with a total value of more than $1 million.

Vouchers worth either $50 or $500 will be awarded throughout the state on May 24 with random purchases of draw game tickets or FAST PLAY tickets. To have a chance to win a voucher on May 24, simply play your favorite Maryland Lottery games. When a voucher is awarded, the ticket you purchased will have a “Congratulations” message at the top, and the voucher will print immediately after your ticket.

Long before the countless drawings and prizes of the past five decades, there was a single game that had its first drawing on May 24, 1973. And Alice Greene is among the longtime lottery fans who remember it well.

In 1973, Alice was 20 and working toward a bright future as a student at Bay College, a two-year private institution on Charles Street in Baltimore. She also met her future husband that year.

On May 15, 1973, five million Twin Win tickets went on sale at 3,800 licensed retailers in advance of the first drawing nine days later. With their lucky wishbone symbol and bright yellow and black color scheme, the tickets caught Alice’s eye. She bought 12 tickets for that first drawing — they were 50 cents each, for a total of $6.

Half a century later, she still has 11 of those tickets mounted in a book of photos from that era. They are displayed on a page surrounding a newspaper clipping showing the Lottery’s first-ever winning number: 7-6-9-9-1-5.

What happened to the 12th ticket? Alice isn’t certain, but she wasn’t the $50,000 winner. She speculates that her other ticket was a winner for a small amount and she cashed it.

Alice later worked at a Lottery retailer.

“I used to run a Lottery machine at the High’s off Patapsco Avenue,” she reflected, adding that over the years she has been a fairly regular Lottery player.

“I had some favorite numbers. Pick 3 mainly,” she said, noting that she won prizes from time to time, which kept things interesting.

Alice eventually matriculated from the now-gone Bay College to Loyola College (now Loyola University of Maryland). She and her husband settled into a home on Biddle Street, and the couple raised two sons and a daughter. They now live in Pikesville and have three grandsons and a granddaughter.

Alice sports a green ribbon on her lapel, which reflects her fight against cancer.

“I call it my lymphoma diploma,” she said, adding that she has been living cancer-free for “going on four years.” She credits Dr. Abhishek Kalla and his team at Ascension Saint Agnes Hospital for helping her defeat the disease.

These days she and her husband are looking forward to celebrating their 50th anniversary, possibly with a renewal of vows ceremony.

As for why she has kept those original Twin Win tickets for all these years, she says she enjoys collecting memorabilia, and she thought of them as significant because they were among the Lottery’s first tickets.

Other pieces of pop culture she has kept over the years include a Simpsons TV show-themed Monopoly board game, which remains unopened; a Steven Quincy Urkel doll from the sitcom “Family Matters,” and a collection of 1940s vintage costume jewelry.

Alice said she doesn’t play the Lottery as often as she did when she was younger, but she picks up an occasional Powerball or Mega Millions ticket when the jackpots are large. She offers some practical advice to anyone else who enjoys playing the Lottery: “You’ve got to pay to play, and you’ve got to play responsibly,” she said. “If you need a loaf of bread, buy the loaf of bread and play the Lottery some other time.”

SOURCE: The Maryland Lottery & Gaming.