We’ve known that online lottery games in numerous states have been doing better than ever while people are stuck at home or at least spending more time there than they usually would. The growth was always on tap, as online games still only make up a small fraction of the overall sales for states with the activity.
It’s still the very early days of the iLottery industry in the U.S.
In Michigan, widely regarded as the top iLottery in the country right now, the agency said Monday that over the past four weeks it has awarded a whopping $182 million in prize money. The largest prize during that span was a $101,165 score a gambler won playing a football-themed instant game. While there are rows of digitized footballs in that game, surely Michiganders are looking forward to the Detroit Lions and real, live football, assuming COVID-19 doesn’t nuke it.
The $182 million figure isn’t the amount that players withdrew out of their iLottery accounts and tucked away in the bank, as much of that money was surely used to continue playing.
In terms of overall prize money, the Michigan iLottery said the top-five breakdown was as follows:
1. Michigan Cash Drop — $22,967,243
2. Instant Keno Multiplier — $12,122,573
3. Queen Of Diamonds — $11,273,842
4. Paint Blast — $10,052,986
5. Wheel Of Fortune — $9,182,378
The iLottery recently launched its 100th game. The total is now at 101.
Ninety-six of the 101 online lottery offerings are instant games.
Context for the $182 million?
In fiscal year 2019, the most recent period for data on the Michigan Lottery, $2.4 billion in prize money was awarded. That included tickets sold in a retail setting.
The Michigan Lottery didn’t announce how much prize money was awarded from in-store purchases over the last month. The Michigan Lottery’s website stated that $96,954,963 in prize money had been claimed over the past seven days, a figure that includes both online and in-person play.
There is often a delay with claiming in-person winnings, so we can’t make an inference on how much online accounted for. However, it’s likely at record levels.
Michigan is home to about 10,500 lottery retailers across the state, though access to them is spotty — and obviously undesirable — amid the public health crisis.
Based on the prior year figures, we can estimate that in the ballpark of $300 million was played with (the handle) over the past four weeks on the iLottery games in the Wolverine State. That’s an impressive figure for the roughly six-year-old iLottery, especially ahead of the state’s foray into online casino gambling.
Online casinos are expected to launch later this year or in early 2021, pending licensure by the Michigan Gaming Control Board. The Michigan Lottery won’t have involvement with online casino gambling or online/mobile sports wagering in the state.