Perry A. Farrell
If you play the Michigan Lottery online and win, expect a phone call.
If you don’t, keep an eye on your ticket and the phone number on the back.
Anthony Frabotta, 66, of Rochester Hills gambled online, he continued to receive phone calls until someone from Lansing called him on the phone earlier this month and informed him that he won $1 million in the January 24 Mega Millions draw.
Online jackpot winners are the only ones contacted by phone, said Michigan Lottery Commission spokesman Jeff Holyfield.
“What’s happening is with online games where players have signed up…we know immediately who it is,” Holyfield said. “If we see someone has won such a prize, we’ll give them a few days. If we don’t see them logging into their account, we’ll take this action to let them know they’ve won a million dollars or more.
“Everyone else should call us, but if you’re a gamer playing online, one of the benefits is that you get instant notification after the draw. People are busy. They’ll go online and play and a few days later they will reconnect.”
Winning is one thing; how much you take home is another.
If a player wins up to $5,000, there is no holdback.
If the jackpot is over $5,000, the Lottery Commission is required by law to withhold 25% for federal income tax and 4.25% for state income tax.
“That doesn’t mean he satisfies their tax liability; that’s what we’re required by law to withhold,” Holyfield said. “What we always tell our big winners when they ask us about taxes, we tell them it varies depending on your individual situation. We tell them to consult an accountant or a tax specialist.”
Another thing the Lottery Commission does is check anyone who wins $1,000 or more to see if they have a debt to the state. This would include back taxes and child support. If they owe the state, the money is withheld to pay off the debt.
“There are cases where people would come with the winning ticket and we will process it and instead of giving them a check they will receive a letter saying that you have this debt and we have withheld this amount which has been registered with the ministry . Treasury,” Holyfield said.
Winners who need to travel to Lansing to pick up their winnings must have the winning ticket, valid photo ID, usually a driver’s license and a Social Security card. The names on the social security card and photo ID must match.
This information would be important if someone won a record jackpot.
The Powerball record was $1.6 billion on January 13, 2016.
It was the first jackpot to hit $1 billion and “everyone in the industry raised their hands and said that was the world record,” Holyfield said.