ALBANY, N.Y. — The New York Lottery is celebrating a big anniversary.

Saturday marks the 50th anniversary of the sale of the first ticket in 1967. New York was only the second state to begin operating a lottery after New Hampshire.

State officials say more than $83 billion has been given out to players and more than $61 billion has been raised to benefit education since the first $1 ticket was sold.

The New York lottery is now the nation’s largest and most profitable program of its kind. It currently offers dozens of instant scratch-off games as well as nine number draw games. Some 17,000 retailers around the state offer the games.

The state marked the occasion Friday with a live drawing on the Empire State Plaza adjacent to the state Capitol.

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