Appearing on the Stateside program on Michigan Radio, Michigan Lottery Director of Public Relations Jeff Holyfield announced that last year Lottery revenues exceeded $3.3 Billion which ended September 30, 2017.   This resulted in a contribution to the State School Aid Fund of $915 million, a record high.   Mr. Holyfield stated: “We are in the entertainment business, and so that is what our focus is on is providing players with games that are entertaining and fun and exciting . . .”

The Michigan Lottery last year was the number one lottery in the country as far as growth and a large part of that was that we had a 16 percent increase in our instant game ticket purchases.  You know for a lottery that has been around for over 45 years, that is unprecedented.”

Stateside host Lester Graham asked Mr. Holyfield about a recent report in the Columbia Journal Review discussed in a prior Stateside program that found in some states that people oddly had won repeatedly.  Mr. Graham asked how often this happens in Michigan. 

 “What we do in Michigan is that we mainly focus on repeat winners with our retailers,” Holyfield said. “What we’re looking at there, we have a system set in place where if a retail owner, one of our licensees, claims 20 prizes of more than $600 in a year, or claims $20,000 in total prizes, then we will look at them and conduct an investigation.

He said what’s going on there is a practice called “discounting.” When winners don’t want to cash the prizes under their own names, a retailer might buy the winning ticket from them, cash it on their behalf, and share the prize.  Holyfield said that in the latest year there were “20 retailers that were investigated for that,” but in “most” of these cases there “was no evidence of discounting”.  He stated that “there are some people who play a lot and you’re going to win a lot.”

When he was asked about the ability of Lottery to do something about players who sell their tickets in an effort to avoid paying back taxes, child support or some other tax dodge, Mr. Holyfield stated: “Unfortunately we don’t have many good options there, because you can imagine this transaction it is between two people, done in private, and they typically don’t talk about it or post it on Facebook.”


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