The MS Project: The ninth installment of the Illinois Lottery’s MS instant win scratch off ticket is on sale at all statewide retailers. Tickets can be found at local retailers from March through July.
Cost: This year, the cost per ticket is $3 and the top winning prize is $50,000.
Proceeds: All net proceeds from ticket sales go into the Illinois Lottery’s MS Research Fund. Research grants are distributed from the fund to neurologists, scientists, and other medical professionals at statewide institutions whose work is focused on multiple sclerosis research.
History: The first MS lottery ticket was issued in 2008 following the creation of 20 ILCS 1605/21.7(SB764 and Public Act 095-0673). The MS ticket is one of five specialty scratch-off tickets in Illinois that benefit charitable causes/organizations (Veterans, HIV/AIDS, Breast Cancer, Special Olympics). The law created not only the ticket, but also the MS Research Fund within the Illinois Department of Public Health’s (IDPH) budget. Since that time, more than $9 million has been raised for MS research. Each year, the ticket earns approx. $1.5 million in net revenue for the fund. Prospective grantees apply through the National MS Society research portal and peer review process; approved grants from Illinois are funded by the NMSS research pool. The Greater Illinois Chapter has created a process through IDPH to obtain the lottery funds which are then channeled back to the National MS Society to replenish the pool. Amended legislation in 2013 changed the bill’s language to include “research to understand triggers and processes leading to that damage” which further expands the breadth of statewide research projects that can be funded though the lottery money. In addition, the same legislation increased annual grant allocations from the fund up to $2 million (from $1 million) per year.