News Story

Feeling Lucky? State-Run Gambling Hits Record High in 2014

Michigan Lottery raked in $2.6 billion

The Michigan Lottery set a record in 2014 with $2.6 billion in ticket sales, up 25 percent since 2005.

People are spending more than ever on Michigan’s state-run gambling, and the biggest growth is in the instant ticket games, where participants rub off portions of the ticket to see if they've won. The games advertise prizes that go as high as $2 million.

Instant ticket sales have increased from $662.5 million in 2005 to $913.1 million in 2014, a 38-percent increase.

Almost all of the lottery proceeds go to fund public schools. The School Aid Fund received $743 million in 2014 from the lottery. Between 2011 to 2014 the lottery contributed nearly $3 billion to public schools.

This fall, the state debuted a new game — the Ultimate Millions Instant Game — that offered a $2 million prize for a $20 ticket.

State Rep. Mike Shirkey, R-Clarklake, said he doesn’t approve of the state’s growing legalized gambling operations.

“I don’t like the Michigan Lottery,” Shirkey said in a text message. “We set it up to entice people, many of which probably shouldn’t spend the money, to take chances that they can’t afford. Then we perpetually create ‘new games’ that, as far as I am concerned, is in direct violation of our constitution because these ‘new games’ have only one purpose: expand gambling. … I believe we either live by the constitutional changes voters approved (no new gambling) or we become a full freedom gambling state.”

Jeff Holyfield, spokesman for the Michigan Lottery, said preliminary budgetary information shows that the state will exceed $2 billion in sales in 2015.