Michigan Lottery at 45: More Than $36 Billion in Prizes to Players; Lottery Celebrates with Free Online Games

Michigan Lottery players and the state’s School Aid Fund have been big winners since the Lottery began 45 years ago.

Sales of the Lottery’s inaugural game – the 50-cent Green Game – began on Nov. 13, 1972. Since then, the Lottery has awarded more than $36 billion in prizes to players and provided more than $21 billion to support public education in Michigan.

To celebrate 45 years of supporting public education and boosting bank accounts for players across the state, the Lottery is giving players 45 free entries into the $500 a Day Giveaway and free games of the popular online game, Queen of Diamonds on Monday, Nov. 13. To participate in these special offers, players should log in to their Lottery accounts at MichiganLottery.com. New players should sign-up for an account at MichiganLottery.com using the promo code “45YEARS” to participate in the promotional offer. The special promotional offer expires at 11:59 p.m. on Monday.

Michigan Lottery players have a chance to win up to $500,000 instantly playing online. Players also may win prizes ranging from $1 up to multimillion dollar jackpots playing Powerball, Mega Millions, Lotto 47, and Fantasy 5 online. Through its online platform, the Lottery offers players more than 40 different games with plays ranging in price from 5 cents to $20.

More than 674,000 players have registered to play the Lottery’s online games, which were launched in 2014. For more information or to play online, visit http://bit.ly/MSLOnlineGames.

In 2016, Lottery players won nearly $337 million playing games online.

Milestones in Lottery history include:

  • Nov. 13, 1972: Sales begin for the 50-cent Green Game.
  • Nov. 24, 1972: First weekly drawing for the Lottery’s Green Game.
  • Feb. 22, 1973: Hermus Millsaps, of Taylor, becomes the first person to win $1 million playing the Lottery.
  • Aug. 13, 1984: First Lotto jackpot game goes on sale. First-week sales of $3.1 million set a national record.
  • Sept. 1, 1984: The first Lotto jackpot, a $2.9 million prize, is won by Thomas LaPenna of Marquette.
  • Jan. 28, 1989: The Lottery’s Fame and Fortune television show begins.
  • Aug. 31, 1996: Tickets for The Big Game go on sale.
  • Nov. 3, 1997: The Lottery’s first $10 instant game is released – $1,000,000 Gift – featuring a top prize of $1 million.
  • May 15, 2002: The Big Game becomes Mega Millions.
  • April 11, 2005: A Port Huron couple, Ralph and Marry Stebbins, win a record $208 million Mega Millions jackpot.
  • Jan. 31, 2010: Powerball tickets go on sale in Michigan.
  • Aug. 31, 2012: A Lapeer man, Donald Lawson, wins a record $337 million Powerball jackpot, the largest Lottery prize ever won in Michigan.
  • Feb. 4, 2014: The Lottery’s first $30 instant game is released – $2,000,000 CA$H – with a top prize of $2 million.
  • Aug. 11, 2014: The Lottery begins offering games online.
  • Feb. 24, 2015: An Allegan County woman, Pam Rawson, becomes the first player to win $1 million playing online.
  • January 2016: The Lottery begins offering Mega Millions, Powerball, Lotto 47, and Fantasy 5 online, launching one new game online each week.
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