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Some Michigan retailers are lucky spots for lottery players

Michigan LotteryMichigan Lottery: Some Michigan retailers are lucky spots for lottery players

A Highland Park porn shop won fame earlier this month for indulging a common vice.

Not that vice!

The Uptown Bookstore on Woodward sold a winning Powerball ticket worth $128.6 million.

In all, Michigan residents bought $2.37 billion in lottery tickets in the last budget year — about $4,500 a minute. That's down from the record year of 2009 ($2.38 billion), but it still averages nearly $237 for every man, woman and child in Michigan.

In Detroit, the state's biggest city, more than $326 million in lottery tickets were purchased, easily the most of any city. Hersey, just north of Big Rapids, ranked last at $109. But Hersey has only 356 residents and one lottery retailer — the Hersey Gas and Grocery on Main Street.

The only place in Hell (southwest of Brighton) to play the lottery is the Dam Site Inn. (We're not making this up.) It sold almost $140,000 in tickets last year, more than three times the $40,000 sold at the only lottery seller in Paradise (on the shores of Lake Superior's Whitefish Bay).

It's all for a good cause. The lottery generated about $701 million for the state's public schools last year and has contributed more than $15 billion to education since it began in 1972.

Michiganders spend $237 on lottery tickets yearly

Michigan plays the lottery. A lot.

The average resident spends $237 a year on the hopes of riches — large and small.

Now Michigan isn't as compulsive as say, Delaware, where gamblers spent about $816 per person last year. But then Delaware has video lottery to keep residents from staring at the ocean all day.

Michiganders typically buy tickets in gas stations, convenience stores, restaurants and bars.

But as one lucky winner found out earlier this month, winning the big prize means everyone knows where you bought the ticket.

The Powerball ticket worth $128.6 million was purchased at the Uptown Bookstore on Woodward in Highland Park. We could leave it at that but we won't. Uptown is an adult novelty store that rents pornographic videos.

Lottery requirements

The Uptown isn't the only risqué retailer of lottery tickets. Eleven strip clubs sold a combined $1.1 million in lottery tickets. Trumpps on 8 Mile led the way with $350,000 in tickets, almost $1,000 a day.

"Businesses can sign up to be retailers, but there are requirements for them to meet," said lottery spokeswoman Andi Brancato. "They have to sell non-lottery items. They can't just be in the business to sell lottery tickets."

Retailers earn 6% of gross sales and additional commissions for selling big winners. Places that sell big winners, like Uptown, receive $50,000.

Sellers are expected to move at least $1,000 a week in tickets, though seasonal businesses, like golf courses and ski lodges, get a break when they are closed.

Lottery officials screen applicants for "honesty and integrity" and "indebtedness to the state or any local government." A business owner can lose a lottery license over a criminal conviction or for being arrested for bookmaking.

Fraternal organizations and social clubs, like the Eagles, Elks and Knights of Columbus, sold more than $11 million in tickets. Veterans groups, like VFW and American Legion halls, sold an additional $4.4 million.

State lottery records categorize one retailer as religious — the Polish Roman Catholic Union in Muskegon. It sold $263,000 in tickets.

Daily players

"I usually hit the four-digit at least once a year," said Bernice Burt, 35, of Detroit. "The year's almost up and I haven't hit, so I'm hoping."

The four-digit pays $5,000. She typically plays every day either the Daily 3, Daily 4 or Classic Lotto.

Burt buys tickets at Oak Liquor & Wine on 8 Mile in Oak Park, the highest-grossing lottery retailer in Michigan, according to preliminary figures for the 2010 fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30.

The store sold about $1.9 million in lottery tickets last fiscal year. Manager Wassim Shaina credits a good location, a clean store and good customer service.

"We don't rush the customer," he said. "I've been in stores where they do."

The lottery sales are good for business. Many people just stop to play, but Shaina estimates that 40% or more of them also buy something else in the store. He noticed the difference when the state added daily drawings on Sunday.

"Business picked up," he said.

The store has never sold a mega jackpot, like the ones collected last week, but it's not uncommon for players to win $5,000 or $10,000, Shaina said.

Instant success

The Wesko #31 in Muskegon led the state in instant ticket sales, selling almost $582,000. It doesn't have any huge signs or elaborate promotions, but it does quickly put out new games to attract the customers.

"If there's a secret, it's just good retail execution," said Dan Yerkie, director of merchandise for Wesko, the company that owns the gas station and convenience store. "Getting the games out there right away. The lottery will tell you that 39% of new instant sales occur in the first week of a game."

Most of the money that goes into the lottery gets paid out in prizes. According to preliminary numbers for the most recent fiscal year, about 58% went to prizes, 29% went to the state school aid fund, 7% went to retailers and the rest was spent on administrative, advertising and other expenses, including 0.1% to the compulsive gaming hot line, Brancato said.

So where's the best place to buy a ticket?

Many people consider the Party World store in Comstock Park, just outside Grand Rapids, to be the sweet spot. In one six-month period in 2008, three customers became millionaires.

The store sold two, $1-million winning Millionaire Raffle tickets and a Mega Millions ticket worth $57 million. It's also sold numerous $100,000 winners in recent years.

Dave Castor, a manager at the family-owned business, attributes the luck to a four-leaf clover taped to the lottery terminal. Owner Dan Bekins found it about 20 years ago when he was cleaning up in the grass near the store.

"He said it's been his lucky charm ever since," said Castor, Bekins' brother-in-law. "We have customers come who insist on tapping their tickets on it."

Thanks to Marianne for the tip.

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10 comments. Last comment 4 years ago by sully16.
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sully16's avatar - sharan
Listens to the wind

United States
Member #81740
October 28, 2009
18784 Posts
Offline
Posted: November 26, 2010, 4:23 pm - IP Logged

wtg Michigan

There's only one US Flag


    United States
    Member #68713
    December 28, 2008
    301 Posts
    Offline
    Posted: November 27, 2010, 10:27 am - IP Logged

    BananaI will welcome the day it swings my way in GR!! Dance GREAT FOR MICHIGAN SCHOOLS.Thumbs Up

      rdgrnr's avatar - walt
      -Ridge Runner- Oracle of the Appalachians
      Way back up in them dadgum hills, son!
      United States
      Member #73904
      April 28, 2009
      14903 Posts
      Offline
      Posted: November 27, 2010, 11:29 am - IP Logged

      This gives me a brilliant idea.

      They say the people who got richest in the California Gold Rush were the guys selling picks and shovels.

      I'm gonna start a Four Leaf Clover Farm!

      OK now, where can I get some seeds?


                                                   
                           
                                               

       

       

       

       

                                                                                                         

      "The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing"

                                                                                                  --Edmund Burke

       

       

        kumazi30's avatar - Lottery-050.jpg
        Detroit MI
        United States
        Member #62961
        July 14, 2008
        22 Posts
        Offline
        Posted: November 27, 2010, 11:48 am - IP Logged

        This gives me a brilliant idea.

        They say the people who got richest in the California Gold Rush were the guys selling picks and shovels.

        I'm gonna start a Four Leaf Clover Farm!

        OK now, where can I get some seeds?

        I love your comments. I always read them. You have a great sense of humor!

          Abdi's avatar - Lottery-008.jpg
          Nairobi
          Kenya
          Member #64806
          September 8, 2008
          115 Posts
          Offline
          Posted: November 27, 2010, 5:37 pm - IP Logged

           I must say this has happened because It's all for a good cause. The lottery generated about $701 million for the state's public schools last year and has contributed more than $15 billion to education since it began in 1972.

          they also spend alot of money on the lottery!

          CONGRAT'S TO THEM!

          when replying to post's please criticise ideas not people.

          in this room we are here to share and learn.

          There are no born heroes or winners........it takes a hammer a chisel,a vision and a will to suffer the blows and be carved into one!..........

          I have tried using 10 major lottery softwares used around the globe.I have spent many years studying them and know i am regretting the time i have wasted on them.

          whos is Abdi?This boy  is  proudly kenyan,he is currently creating shockwaves across the United States of America.

            Avatar
            Franklin-n.c
            United States
            Member #37194
            April 12, 2006
            21 Posts
            Offline
            Posted: November 27, 2010, 9:50 pm - IP Logged

            looks like my town needs to get a porn shop, maybe I would have better luck like they would let that happen hell would have to freeze over first.

              sully16's avatar - sharan
              Listens to the wind

              United States
              Member #81740
              October 28, 2009
              18784 Posts
              Offline
              Posted: November 28, 2010, 8:01 am - IP Logged

              This gives me a brilliant idea.

              They say the people who got richest in the California Gold Rush were the guys selling picks and shovels.

              I'm gonna start a Four Leaf Clover Farm!

              OK now, where can I get some seeds?

              Shhhhh, that was supposed to be a secret , we don't want it regulated.Hyper

              There's only one US Flag

                Avatar
                middle Georgia
                United States
                Member #1893
                July 20, 2003
                1868 Posts
                Offline
                Posted: November 28, 2010, 11:48 am - IP Logged

                This gives me a brilliant idea.

                They say the people who got richest in the California Gold Rush were the guys selling picks and shovels.

                I'm gonna start a Four Leaf Clover Farm!

                OK now, where can I get some seeds?

                        Green laughrdgrnr, this reminds me of a joke years ago and I only remember part of it.... about a guy trying to  sell cheerios as seeds for growing doughnuts.  Does anyone remember the joke?

                maggie   See Ya!

                  Avatar
                  Oak Creek WI
                  United States
                  Member #5403
                  July 3, 2004
                  44 Posts
                  Offline
                  Posted: November 28, 2010, 8:27 pm - IP Logged

                  The thing is on the one show on Millionaires they said that Michigan has the highest number of poor people that are at and below poverty levels. They also said that except for Ford working in Detroit there are really no big employers left in Michigan, if this is true how can they spend all that money on they lottery every year?  I'm not begrudging them anything, but if it meant food and heat or a ticket, it wouldn't be a hard decision for me. This was on just a month or so. I'm happy for the Big Winners they were in the right place at the right time, and I pray they are sensible with their money as we've all seen sometimes you see Big Winners run through it like water through a sieve.

                  Good Luck to all that Play.

                  Lotto Lin

                    sully16's avatar - sharan
                    Listens to the wind

                    United States
                    Member #81740
                    October 28, 2009
                    18784 Posts
                    Offline
                    Posted: November 29, 2010, 8:14 am - IP Logged

                            Green laughrdgrnr, this reminds me of a joke years ago and I only remember part of it.... about a guy trying to  sell cheerios as seeds for growing doughnuts.  Does anyone remember the joke?

                    maggie   See Ya!

                    Don't remember that joke but, it is funny....LOL

                    There's only one US Flag