When did playing online lottery become legal in Michigan?

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder first asked lawmakers to set aside money in the budget to set up online lottery sales back in 2013. Legislators rejected Snyder’s funding request, but Michigan Lottery officials went ahead regardless, using existing money in its own budget. The Michigan Lottery soft launched online lottery sales on August 11, 2014. In November 2014, Michigan’s online lottery was officially launched.

What games are available?

Players have been able to buy tickets for Instant Keno and scratch-off game equivalents known as Instants Online since the November 2014 launch of the Michigan lottery online. The Michigan Lottery began allowing players to purchase tickets to its most popular draw games online in January 2016.

Players can now play several version of Keno and Keno-style draw games online, including:

  • Instant Keno
  • Instant Keno Multiplier
  • Quick 6
  • Fuzzball Keno

Michigan Lottery draw games offering ticket sales online include:

  • Powerball
  • Mega Millions
  • Fantasy 5
  • Lotto 47

The number of Instants Online available on the Michigan online lottery is always in flux, with new titles being added regularly. Right now there are more than 35 and most offer demos allowing you to try the game for free.

Can I play MegaMillions online?

MegaMillions began as The Big Game multi-state lottery in 1996 with Michigan was one of the original six states involved. The draw game was renamed The Big Game MegaMillions six years later, and became MegaMillions in 2002. MegaMillions is now a multi-state draw game offered in 44 states, Washington D.C., and the US Virgin Islands. $1 Tickets are available at lottery retailers in Michigan and online as well.

Can I play Michigan Powerball online?

Powerball is a multi-state draw game offered in 44 states, Washington D.C., US Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico. The Michigan Lottery began offering Powerball tickets in January 2010 and online ticket sales started in January 2016. Tickets are $2.00 each.

Who offers these games?

Michigan Lottery games are officially offered by The Michigan Bureau of State Lottery, a division of the state government. It has existed since the lottery began in Michigan in 1972, and is currently led by Lottery Commissioner Aric Nesbitt. Nesbitt became the ninth Commissioner of the Michigan Lottery on February 19, 2017. Nesbitt previously served in the state House of Representatives from 2011 through 2016.

The Michigan Lottery is one of the most successful lotteries in the country. It’s stated aims are to:

  • Maximize net revenues to supplement state education programs.
  • Provide fun and entertaining games of chance.
  • Operate all games and bureau functions with nothing less than total integrity.

The Lottery has contributed more than $19.6 billion to education in Michigan since its inception in 1972.

How do I know they are fair games?

Michigan Lottery games are administered by the state government with oversight provided by The Michigan Bureau of State Lottery.

Lottery Commissioner Aric Nesbitt is responsible for the overall management and operation of the Lottery and assuring the accountability and integrity of the Lottery. Nesbitt became the ninth Commissioner of the Michigan Lottery in February 2017 after previously serving in the state House of Representatives from 2011 through 2016.

Who do I contact if I have a problem playing Michigan’s online lottery?

The Michigan Lottery invites players to contact the organization through telephone at 844.887.6836. Players can also access the Michigan Lottery Support Center through an Email form on MichiganLottery.com. Plus, MichiganLottery.com offers a Live Chat feature.

Answers to a number of frequently asked questions and contact information for the Michigan Lottery is also available through the Support Center at MichiganLottery.Desk.com.

How do I deposit money to buy online tickets?

Michigan residents 18 years or older must register for a Michigan Lottery account online. Once verified, they can make a deposit using one or more of the following methods:

  • Credit or Debit Cards
  • Direct bank transfer (ACH)
  • Online Game Card available at Michigan Lottery retail outlets

Can I use a promo code to get a special bonus when I sign up?

Yes. The Michigan Online Lottery offers bonuses to new players, some of which require a promo code to claim. Learn more about using Michigan online lottery promotional codes.

How do I get paid when I win online?

Players that win up to $600 will have that win automatically deposited into their Michigan Lottery account. They can withdraw that money anytime.

Players that win anywhere from $601 to $50,000 will have that win automatically deposited into their Michigan Lottery account. However, they must submit a virtual claim form in order to withdraw those funds.

Players that win a more than $50,000 prize will need to visit the Michigan Lottery office in Lansing, MI to claim the prize.

Where do I get my tickets when I play online?

Your tickets remain online. Once you complete a purchase, you can look up your tickets anytime on MichiganLottery.com. Just log in to your account, check the Upcoming Draws section in My Account to review your tickets and see when the next draw is.

You will also receive automatic alerts about anything you win every time you log in to your Michigan Lottery account. Draw results are also available in the History section in My Account.

What kind of computer do I need to play Michigan’s online lottery?

Michigan lottery games are available on PC or Mac computers. Plus, Michigan’s online lottery games can be accessed with smartphones and tablets utilizing Android or iOS operating systems.

Michigan lottery timeline

The following timeline identifies the key moments in the development of Michigan’s iLottery, from the beginning of lottery sales in the state, to the launch of online ticket sales, and beyond.

Michigan establishes the lottery

November 13, 1972

Michigan first establishes the state lottery in 1972. Ticket sales for the 50-cent green game, Michigan’s first weekly lottery game, begin on November 13, 1972. The first draw is held on November 24. Lottery proceeds are earmarked for education funding.

1975

Michigan Lottery introduces instant tickets for the first time.

1977

Michigan Lottery introduces a computerized gaming system and Daily 3, the state’s first numbers game.

1981

Legislation passes, ensuring lottery revenues go to the state’s School Aid Fund.

October 1981

Michigan adds the Daily 4 numbers game to its lottery offerings.

August 1984

Michigan Lotto debuts and sets a national record with first-week sales of $3.1 million.

1995

A 45 percent prize payout cap is removed and 45 percent becomes the new minimum required payout for the state lottery.

1996

Michigan launches The Big Game, now Mega Millions. The multi-jurisdictional lottery game is done in conjunction with Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, and Virginia.

2003

Michigan bars and restaurants introduce Keno and Pull Tabs.

State considers online ticket sales

March 2012

Prior to the introduction of any online lottery plans, Michigan Senator Mike Green proposes legislation that would prohibit the Michigan Lottery from selling tickets online. Green claims he put his bill together in response to statements by lottery officials regarding the possibility of allowing online lottery sales after the September 2011 US Department of Justice legal opinion that the Federal Wire Act only applies to sports betting.

April 2013

Gov. Rick Snyder proposes the introduction of online lottery sales. He claims iLottery could bring in $8 million in funding for state education in its first year and $471 million over the next seven years. Snyder asks legislators to approve $3.4 million in funding for the program. The House Appropriations Committee sets aside funding for the program in the budget, but the state Senate’s committee pulls it.

State Sen. Rick Jones introduces legislation prohibiting online lottery sales. Jones claims gambling addiction and abuse by young people are his chief concerns. Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette also expresses concerns with plans to bring online lottery sales to the state.

June 2013

Snyder approves a state budget that does not include money for the iLottery proposal.

November 2013

Legislators reject Snyder’s funding request to launch the online lottery. However, it did not prohibit the Michigan Lottery from spending existing money in its budget. As a result, the Michigan Lottery proceeds with iLottery plans using only funds already on hand. The plan includes starting online lottery sales in the fourth quarter of 2014.

After a request for proposals, lottery officials selected lottery vendor Pollard Banknote and software provider NeoGames to put together the state’s online sales system. This will ultimately allow Michigan residents to play lottery games online.

Lottery officials claim iLottery will increase contributions to the state School Aid Fund by $480 million over the next eight years. The contract with Pollard Banknote and NeoGames is expected to be worth close to $23 million in its first four years, as the companies will receive 19.6 percent of the gross profits for iLottery games.

Michigan launches iLottery

August 11, 2014

The Michigan Lottery soft launches online lottery sales, joining Illinois and Georgia as the only states with online lottery operations. The launch was not advertised and only visible to players visiting the Michigan Lottery website.

September 2014

Michigan iLottery begins advertising.

November 2014

Michigan’s iLottery officially launches. Players can buy tickets for Instant Keno and scratch-off game equivalents like Cashword and Pot O’ Gold from a computer, mobile phone, or tablet device.

January 2015

The Michigan Lottery ramps up promotion of its new online lottery options. Increased radio promotions are planned for February 2015. A plan is also released for draw games like Mega Millions and Powerball available online.

Lottery officials say approximately 87,000 players have registered for online lottery accounts since the August 2014 soft launch. The online sales generate $3.7 million for the state.

Jones maintains his opposition to the iLottery, claiming players could lose their homes from their couch. Additionally, increased gambling will lead to more depression, suicides, broken marriages, and bankruptcies.

Michigan Lottery officials claim the technology includes safeguards to prevent these issues, such as player-set betting limits and temporary or permanent bans.

The Michigan Association of Convenience Stores expresses concern that online gaming will cannibalize sales from brick-and-mortar lottery sales operations.

February 2015

The Michigan Lottery announces a player won $1 million on a $20 online scratch-off game Diamond Payout. This marks the the first online $1 million winner in Michigan Lottery history.

March 2015

The Michigan Lottery announces plans to expand its Players Club to include online games. Starting in April 2015, players began earning two points for each $1 spent on online games. The Players Club is a free program that gives Lottery players the chance to accumulate points. Points can be redeemed for entries into drawings for prizes or merchandise, including Lottery free-play coupons.

May 2015

The Michigan Lottery releases statistics showing iLottery players created more than 133,000 online accounts since launch. The numbers also show over 300,000 instant tickets are sold daily. Officials claim ticket sales for lotto drawings will launch online during the fourth quarter of 2015.

August 2015

After one year in operation, the Michigan iLottery is in full swing with 17 instant games and Keno available. Online Keno players have an increased chance of winning because a player’s bet returns on three numbers out of ten, instead of the four or five numbers required in video or live keno games.

June 2015

The Gun Lake Tribe, officially the Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians, stop payments to the state from gaming operations at the Native American Gun Lake Casino.

The tribe claims the state broke the non-compete provision of its 2007 compact when the Michigan Lottery started online sales. The state disagreed, saying online sales are not considered an expansion of the lottery or gaming.

January 2016

The Michigan Lottery adds draw games. Players can now purchase tickets online for the lotteries most popular draw games, including Powerball, Mega Millions, Lotto 47, and Fantasy 5.

iLottery hailed a success

February 2016

The Michigan Lottery unveils its plan to by Super Bowl ad time to promote its iLottery. The 30-second ad will focus on how players can use their smartphones, tablets, and computers to play Michigan lottery games online.

The plan is to show the ad twice during the game in the Detroit, Grand Rapids, Lansing, and Flint markets, and once in the Traverse City market. The total cost is $216,000. After the Super Bowl, the ad airs on TV and radio stations around the state.

July 2016

Michigan resident Tammy Weadock wins a $1 million Powerball prize after buying her ticket online. The Michigan Lottery celebrates by offering $5 in free play to new online players.

October 2016

The Michigan Lottery announces a plan to launch a new digital online game each week in the four weeks leading up to Thanksgiving. The games include:

  • Bubble Bingo, the Lottery’s first bingo-themed game
  • Merry Multiplier, a scratch-off with four different play areas
  • Unwrap The Cash, a holiday-themed scratch-off
  • Quick 6, a new instant draw game

Officials now claim more than 414,000 players have registered to play the Lottery’s online games since the 2014 iLottery launch.

December 2016

Lottery Consultant Digital Gaming Group releases a report hailing Michigan’s iLottery a success. It also proves concerns online sales would cannibalize brick and mortar lottery operations were overblown. The report claims iLottery surpassed $8 million in weekly sales as of March 2016. At the same time, brick and mortar retail lottery operations set all-time records for sales, profits, and retailer commissions.

Only instants and Keno were sold online during the iLottery’s first fiscal year. Instants accounted for two-thirds of iLottery sales, or approximately $98 million. However, brick and mortar sales still increased for instants by more than $100 million, setting an all-time record. Keno accounted for $49 million in sales in the first year of the iLottery in Michigan. Brick and mortar sales increased by $30 million, also setting an all-time record.

The study concluded retail channels had not been negatively affected by the launch of online sales. According to the report, halfway through the second year of iLottery operations in Michigan, brick and mortar retail sales were on pace to set all-time record highs yet again.