Lottery Sales Investigation -- Who is Buying What, Where

By: Brian Johnson Email
By: Brian Johnson Email

No doubt a big jackpot gets a lot of people's attention.

"The $425 million is huge. There's lots and lots of interest," said Andi Brancato of the Michigan Lottery.

Even folks who might not be your "regular" lottery players are dropping by to pick up tickets.

"I love the excitement that surrounds a big prize," said Kelly Rossman-McKinney the CEO of Truscott Rossman.

But if you look at sales, the Jackpot isn't even in the top five in Michigan. News Ten's Brian Johnson looked at the last three years worth of data and instants are king selling $2.3 billion worth. Club Keno gets second with $1.5 billion. Then the Daily 4 with $1.1 billion, the Daily 3 with 972 million. Mega Millions comes in fifth with $443 million. The Powerball is 6th bringing in $361 million.

So who is your average lottery player?

According the the Michigan Lottery 59 percent of them are women. 60 percent have completed college. 78 percent of the folks who play the lottery make less than $100,000 a year and 83 percent of them are white.

Still sales are universal -- with the state bringing in more and more money each year.

The top selling store in Michigan is Oak Liquor and Wine on 13700 W 8 Mile Rd. in Oak Park. During the last three years it sold more than $5.4 million in lottery tickets. While Detroit and Oak Park rank high some of the top sellers are in Mid-Michigan.

Mario's Market on MLK in Lansing is ranked 15th in the state selling $3.5 million worth. The Meijer on 5125 West Saginaw Hwy in Lansing ranks 92nd in the state, selling $2.4 million.

Those are only three locations, there are more than 13,600 lottery stores in the state.

The top seller in East Lansing is the Meijer at 1350 on West Lake Lansing Rd. It sold more than $1.7 million worth of tickets and is ranked 324th statewide. In Jackson, the Southside Super Deli is ranked 222nd in the state for selling nearly $2 million.

During the last three years folks in Detroit spent $921 million on the lottery. In Lansing people spent $127 million, in Jackson $75 million, East Lansing $14 million, Charlotte $13 million and St. Johns $7 million.

"It's not necessarily a wise investment, and anyone who really is watching their pennies isn't going to throw it away on a lottery ticket," said Rossman-McKinney.

"The reality is, the chances of winning that big prize are so minimal that for most of us, when we buy a lottery ticket we sort of go, 'Wouldn't it be cool, what if...' as opposed to 'I'm counting on winning," said Rossman-McKinney.

The state is definitely counting on losers.

All the money not taken up by prizes, retailer commissions, and administrative costs goes to the School Aid Fund. It pays about 6 percent of the cost of public education in Michigan.

The Michigan Lottery is proud to say it supports schools and all of the profits goes to education.

"100 percent of the Michigan Lottery's profit goes into the state School Aid Fund," said Brancato. "In fiscal year 2012 that amount was $778.4 million."

Last year $1.6 billion was used for operating costs. Of the $2.4 billion in total revenues, 68 percent went towards running the games, leaving only 32 percent to fund education.

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