844,000 season passes to Crystal Mountain. 22.5 million bottles of Chateau Grand Traverse wine. 37.4 million pounds of dried cherries from Traverse Bay Fruit Co. These are just some of the things you could buy with $337 million dollars. Last week, one lucky downstate Michigan resident won that whopping amount in the Powerball lottery jackpot, which is played in 42 states.
The winning ticket, whose owner waited until Wednesday to contact the Michigan Lottery Commission, came from a gas station in Lapeer, using the lucky numbers 6, 27, 46, 51, 56 and Powerball 21. (Lottery fact: 48 is the luckiest number. It’s come up 88 times in the past seven years.)
So the The Ticker got to thinking: Just how lucky is Michigan, particularly northern Michigan, when it comes to lottery winnings? We did some digging through the last five years and found these big-time ($100,000+) payouts:
Cadillac has had its share of luck with $850,000 worth of winnings from three tickets sold between 2008 and 2009. And just weeks ago, Petoskey hit it big time – a $1 million winning ticket was sold at the city’s Meijer gas station. According to Michigan Lottery representatives, that prize money has been claimed, but the winner chooses to remain anonymous. (Lottery fact: Michigan residents winning more than $10,000 can keep their names from being released. But in some states, like New York, winners must make their names public.)
As for Traverse City, only one big win has been reported since 2007: A lucky person won $645,000 on a ticket purchased at the Shell Mini Mart located 1458 South Airport Rd. in 2009.
Though northern Michigan appears to have fewer winners than downstate (blame our less dense population, perhaps?), Andi Brancato, director of public relations for The Michigan Lottery, says the state is a big winner overall – ranked sixth in the country in Powerball and Mega Millions lottery payouts.
She says that last fiscal year, Michigan residents bought $2.4 billion in lottery tickets. Most of that revenue, totaling $1.4 billion, went out in prizes. Michigan’s School Aid fund got a big share of the remaining cash – more than $727 million. (About 95 cents of every dollar spent on lottery tickets is returned to the state in the form of contributions to Michigan’s School Aid Fund, prizes to players and commissions to retailers. Contributions are also made to community health programs, the state’s general fund and other charities.)
Two final lottery facts: Michigan legalized lotteries in 1972. The first $1 million jackpot was won here in February, 1973.
How lucky (or unlucky) are you when it comes to playing the lottery? Share your big and little wins below – and feel free to remain anonymous.