For Fun. For Schools. For 50 Years: Michigan Lottery Celebrates $26 Billion for Public Education

The Michigan Lottery is celebrating 50 years of supporting public education in 2022. Since it began in 1972, the Lottery has contributed more than $26 billion to support public education in Michigan.

“Since it began in 1972, the Lottery has provided critical funding for public education in Michigan,” said Governor Gretchen Whitmer. “The Lottery’s contributions to the School Aid Fund have helped us put Michigan students first, given life-changing prizes to countless players, and supported small businesses and communities throughout the state. I would like to congratulate Lottery players, retailers, vendors, and the Lottery team on 50 successful years. Together, we will keep investing in Michigan’s kids, improve their in-class experience, upgrade facilities, and set them up for a bright future.”

Following a ballot referendum on May 16, 1972, the Michigan Lottery was established by Public Act 239 of 1972, the Lottery Act, and began selling tickets on Nov. 13, 1972, for the Lottery’s inaugural game, The Green Ticket. The first weekly drawing was conducted on Nov. 24, 1972. Other Lottery milestones over the years include:

  • Feb. 22, 1973 – First $1 million prize is awarded to Taylor resident Hermus Millsaps.
  • June 30, 1973 – Lottery’s first School Aid Fund contribution totals more than $14.5 million.
  • Oct. 7, 1975 – First instant game tickets go on sale.
  • June 6, 1977 – Daily 3 game goes on sale at Lottery retailers through 300 on-line terminals.
  • Sept. 30, 1980 – Lottery’s School Aid Fund contribution tops $100 million for the first time.
  • Aug. 13, 1984 – The first Lotto jackpot game goes on sale. First-week sales of $3.1 million set a national record.
  • Sept. 30, 1994 – Lottery’s School Aid Fund contribution tops $500 million for the first time.
  • June 11, 1996 – Michigan joins Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, and Virginia in a multi-state lottery game called The Big Game. The first ticket is sold Aug. 31, 1996. The game is later re-branded to Mega Millions.
  • Oct. 27, 2003 – Tickets for the Lottery’s new Club Games, Club Keno and Pull Tabs, go on sale at bars and restaurants that have been licensed to sell these Lottery products.
  • Jan. 31, 2010 – The Lottery begins sales of Powerball, previously offered in 33 other lottery jurisdictions. The sale of Powerball tickets, in conjunction with Mega Millions, allows Michigan Lottery players the opportunity to win prize money in multi-state games four times a week.
  • Sept. 30, 2012 – Lottery’s School Aid Fund contribution tops $750 million for the first time.
  • Aug. 11, 2014 – The Lottery launches iLottery where players can purchase and play Lottery tickets online.
  • Sept. 30, 2019 – Lottery’s School Aid Fund contribution tops $1 billion for the first time.
  • Jan. 22, 2021 – A Michigan Lottery player won the third-largest lottery prize in history, the $1.05 billion Mega Millions jackpot. The winning ticket was bought at the Novi Kroger.
  • Sept. 30, 2021 – Lottery sets record with $1.419 billion School Aid Fund contribution and more than $5 billion in sales.

“For 50 years, the Michigan Lottery has shared in winning experiences,” said Lottery Commissioner Brian O. Neill. “Those winning experiences include prizes to players, revenue for public education, and revenue for local businesses throughout Michigan. We are grateful for the continued support from our players and strong partnerships with businesses across the state as we continue to raise needed revenue for schools.”

Beginning today, the Lottery’s beneficiary campaign, For Fun. For Schools. For 50 Years., can be seen throughout Michigan. The campaign focuses on the $26 billion the Lottery has contributed to the School Aid Fund since 1972, Lottery winners over the years, and other important Lottery milestones. You can view the For Fun. For Schools. For 50 Years. television spot here: https://youtu.be/kVYledfxEOQ.

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