DETROIT, Mich. (WLNS) – Billions of dollars have gone back to Michigan schools thanks to gambling in the state.

Since 1997, the Michigan Gaming Control Board has donated $2.5 billion collected from Detroit casinos and various gambling ventures to Michigan’s School Aid Fund.

The taxes paid through 2021 are based on revenues and receipts from casino slots, table games and retail sports betting, internet gaming, internet sports betting and fantasy contests.

“Dollars invested in education are critical to the development of Michigan’s future workforce,” said Henry Williams, MGCB executive director. “My MGCB colleagues and I are proud to play our role in helping Michigan schools by collecting wagering taxes on legal, regulated gaming.”

Wagering taxes on the Detroit casinos for gaming and retail sports betting are collected and sent monthly to the School Aid Fund.

Taxes from online gaming operations are transferred to the School Aid Fund at the end of the fiscal year.

The Michigan Gaming Control and Revenue Act was signed by former Gov. John Engler on July 17, 1997.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed the Lawful Internet Gaming Act, Lawful Sports Betting Act, and the Fantasy Contests Consumer Protection Act on Dec. 20, 2019.

The Michigan Gaming Control Board authorized online gaming and sports betting on Jan. 22, 2021.

“Legal, regulated gaming has grown in Michigan in ways no one likely imagined in 1997,” Williams said. “At that time, the internet had about 130 million users, and many thought it was a passing fad. The focus was on the brick-and-mortar casinos and what they could do for the city of Detroit. Both forms of gaming have proven their worth in raising funding for Michigan’s schools.”