More Than $960M Risked On Michigan Online Lottery Instant Games Last Year

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The Michigan online lottery is booming.

According to the Michigan Lottery’s annual report released last month, the state’s iLottery program saw $961.4 million gambled via digital instant games in the most recently completed fiscal year, ending in September.

That figure was up nearly 25% from the $770 million bet on those same games in fiscal year 2018.

After paying out prizes to gamblers, the iLottery reported $116.3 million in net win off the $961.4 million in sales. Net win in FY 2018 was $93.7 million.

The iLottery offers 86 instant games. There are also four draw games (such as Mega Millions, Powerball) available for play online. Online sales for those games are not included in the $961.4 million figure.

Factoring in the net win of $116.3 million, the Lottery reported $3.9 billion in revenue in FY 2019, up from the prior record of $3.6 billion set the previous year. Prizes paid to players also set a new record of more than $2.3 billion, up from the old record of $2.2 billion in FY 2018.

Sales growth

The iLottery program kicked off in 2014 and has been gaining steam since.

Here’s a look at online instant sales since the offering debuted:

  • FY 2019: $961.4 million
  • FY 2018: $770 million
  • FY 2017: $613.3 million
  • FY 2016: $384.9 million
  • FY 2015: $146.1 million
  • FY 2014: $3.9 million

The state report explained the growth in sales between FY 2018 and FY 2019.

“Much of the growth in iLottery instant game sales from fiscal year 2018 to 2019 continues to be attributed to the popularity of multi-ticket games that feature bonus rounds, as well as the continued offering of multiple play styles that appeal to a wide audience,” said the report.

More than $1.6 billion worth of instant tickets were bought via retail locations in FY 2019.

More games coming

The state report said that the Lottery will introduce 28 new digital instant games in FY 2020, comprised of 12 new titles, 12 re-skins of existing games, and four seasonal relaunches. Additionally, the Lottery plans to improve its process of releasing of new games.

“Shifting to a new strategy in fiscal year 2020, Lottery will begin to explore dynamic scheduling, which would help to optimize the launch frequency and product mix, while avoiding cannibalization of sales between similar games,” the state report said. “Lottery will also expand the online draw game offerings by adding Lucky for Life to the online portfolio and will continue to expand integration between retail and online channels using promotions to drive online traffic to retail and back.”

In December, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer put her signature on gaming expansion legislation that will allow tribal and commercial casinos in Michigan to offer online sports betting, slots, table games, and poker. Whitmer played hardball on the legislation, insisting on higher tax rates so that the School Aid Fund, which the Lottery contributed more than $1 billion to in FY 2019, won’t be severely impacted.

In the Michigan Lottery Financial Report, the agency acknowledged “direct competition in the form of legalized iGaming” in “the coming years.”

Online casino slots and online lottery instant games are similar products, so some people in Michigan have expressed concern that there could be some cannibalization. The Michigan Gaming Control Board, which oversees the commercial casinos and will regulate statewide online casino and sports wagering, recently said it will take about a year to craft regulations for the new forms of gambling.

With the iLottery performing well and contributing to new overall Lottery records, Michigan appears to be in no rush to implement online casino and online sports wagering.

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Brian Pempus

Brian served as a senior reporter and online content manager for Card Player Magazine for nearly a decade before joining USBets in October 2018. He is currently focused on legal and regulated sports betting and online gaming. He's an avid jiu-jitsu practitioner in his free time.

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