Michigan Lottery Celebrates 50th Anniversary, $26 Billion Donated

The “For Fun, For Schools, For 50 Years” campaign celebrates the Lottery’s $26 billion in School Aid Fund contributions and other big achievements from the last 50 years.
Promo Image for The Michigan Lottery's "For Fun, For Schools, For 50 Years" campaign celebrating the Lottery's $26 billion in School Aid Fund contributions and other big achievements from the last 50 years.
By
March 23, 2022

The Michigan Lottery has officially been in existence for half a century and over that period it has contributed more than $26 billion in funds to support public education, an impressive feat by any measure.

To celebrate its big 50th anniversary, the Lottery has launched a beneficiary campaign under the moniker “For Fun, For Schools, For 50 Years”. The initiative is focused on spreading information about all the good that’s been done over the past five decades — $26 billion in funds collected, the biggest lottery winners, and other impressive milestones and achievements.

Together, we will keep investing in Michigan’s kids, improve their in-class experience, upgrade facilities, and set them up for a bright future.The Michigan Lottery was first established on May 16, 1972, with state residents taking a vote via a public referendum. The very first tickets were sold on November 13, 1972, and the first official drawing took place 11 days later, on November 24.

Since then, thousands of big winners and millions of small winners have been rewarded, with the Lottery paying out billions in prizes and collecting impressive funds for the public schools’ system, the main benefactor of the MI Lottery.

“Since it began in 1972, the Lottery has provided critical funding for public education in Michigan,” said Gov. 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.”

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Major Michigan Lottery Milestones

Michigan Lottery has been making headlines and establishing milestones throughout its 50 years of its operation. Just recently, the Lottery crowned three big jackpot winners, awarding more than $2.5 million.

These achievements are just a few of the many that were set over the years, with some of the most exceptional and noteworthy including:

  • The first million-dollar prize winner was named on February 22, 1973.
  • The first School Aid Fund contribution of $14.5 million was awarded on June 30, 1973.
  • The School Aid Fund contribution surpassed $100 million for the first time on September 30, 1980.
  • The Lottery joined The Big Game on June 11, 1996. The game is later rebranded into Mega Millions, one of America’s biggest Lottery games.
  • The Lottery sold its first Powerball tickets on January 31, 2010, joining 33 other states. Multi-million jackpots are awarded to players across the nation.
  • Players can buy their tickets online for the first time on August 11, 2014, via the newly launched iLottery.
  • Contributions to the School Aid Fund topped $1 billion for the first time in history on September 30, 2019.
  • One of the biggest jackpots ever was won by a Michigan player on January 22, 2021. The grand prize of $1.05 billion was awarded to a player who bought his ticket at the Novi Kroger.

These are just a few of the many milestones and notable events in the rich half-century-long history of the Michigan Lottery.

It is also worth noting that the lottery just recently achieved another big breakthrough moment, setting yet another record School Aid Fund contribution, with a total of $1.42 billion in cash added into the Fund in fiscal 2021 alone.

The Lottery continues to break its own records on a regular basis, while also rewarding its loyal players with millions of dollars in cash prizes via a selection of lottery drawings and instant win games.

Learn more about the Michigan Lottery in our complete guide for players »

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