VIP Focus: Michigan Lottery: Supporting Public Education With More Than $19.6 Billion Since 1972

DashBoard, June 1, 2016

Submitted by M. Scott Bowen, Commissioner, Michigan Lottery

The Michigan Lottery has provided significant financial support for public education—$19.6 billion since it was established in 1972.

Fiscal year 2015 marked the ninth straight year that the Lottery has provided $700 million or more for education. The Lottery’s education contributions total $6.7 billion for those nine years.

Thanks to the continued support of players, the Lottery set a number of financial records in 2015, most importantly providing a record $795.5 million to the School Aid Fund. That works out to about $495 for each child in the kindergarten through 12th grade system. The previous record contribution was $778.4 million in 2012.

The Lottery is on track to set another round of records this fiscal year. The School Aid Fund contribution is projected to be up more than 10%, to about $880 million. That includes a boost of about $30 million from the extremely high level of Powerball ticket purchases during the world record jackpot run, when the jackpot hit $1.6 billion.

State law specifies that all net proceeds from Michigan Lottery games go to the School Aid Fund. Lottery contributions comprise about 6.5% of the fund.

Other major records set in 2015 were:

  • $2.8 billion in player purchases, eclipsing the previous mark of $2.6 billion from 2014
  • Instant game purchases topped $1 billion, breaking the record of $913.2 million set in 2014
  • $1.7 billion in prizes to players, surpassing the previous record of $1.6 billion in 2014
  • $203.6 million in commissions to retailers, exceeding the previous record of $188.5 million set in 2014

The Lottery’s three main beneficiaries are the School Aid Fund, the players and retailers. In fiscal year 2015, 97 cents out of every dollar spent on a Lottery ticket went to those three beneficiaries.

For each dollar spent on a Michigan Lottery ticket in 2015:

  • 29 cents went to the School Aid Fund
  • 61 cents went to prizes for players
  • 7 cents went to commissions for our 11,000 retailers, many of them family-owned businesses
  • 3 cents supported the Lottery’s ongoing operations and administrative costs

Taxpayers also are Lottery beneficiaries. That’s because every dollar the Lottery provides for public education is a dollar that doesn’t have to come from taxpayers.

The 2015 fiscal year also was the first full year for our online games, which first were offered to players in August 2014. More than 306,000 players have registered to play games online.

In 2015, the online games provided $12.2 million for the School Aid Fund, about 1.5% of the Lottery’s total contribution. That first-year performance is consistent with our projections that the online games will provide incremental growth and an additional $480 million to the School Aid Fund in the first eight years of operation.

The development of the online games platform is part of the Michigan Lottery’s long-term strategy. That strategy is to continue to provide players with attractive and competitive entertainment options that support our mission of providing significant support for public education in Michigan.

M. Scott Bowen is the Commissioner for the Michigan Lottery and can be reached at

VIP Focus articles are company-sponsored advertisements and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of MASB. It’s intended to provide Very Important Partners with a space to share information of value to you and your district.

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