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Logo used since 2013
|Formation||January 12, 1988|
|Secretary||Cynthia F. O'Connell|
Logo used since 2013
|Formation||January 12, 1988|
|Secretary||Cynthia F. O'Connell|
The Florida Lottery is a government-run organization in the state of Florida, USA. With numerous on-line and scratch-off games available, players have a wide variety of prize levels to choose from. Since it began, the Florida Lottery has continued to add variety to its portfolio of games. The Lottery has experimented with higher price points, enhanced traditional games, and introduced seasonal promotional games. In 2012, Florida was the third-ranked state in yearly lottery revenue with $4.45 billion; revenue passed $5 billion in fiscal year 2013. Florida passed the legislation to enact the lottery in 1986 by a two to one ratio.  The new lottery was spearheaded by Governor Bob Martinez and the Florida legislature with the mission of maximizing revenues for the enhancement of public education in Florida. The lottery was founded on the basis that it would provide the people of Florida the opportunity to benefit from additional revenues while providing the highest quality games available. The lottery's first game, MILLIONAIRE was a $1 scratch-off that was immensely popular. Within 17 days, the scratch-off game had paid back the entire $15.5 million to the state's general fund. Florida currently offers eight terminal games: Powerball; Florida Lotto; Cash 3; Play 4; Fantasy 5; Mega Money; Lucky Lines; and Mega Millions, which became available in Florida on May 15, 2013.
With the goal of the Florida Lottery being to enhance public education in the state, the lottery has become not only an education partner but a distinguished business enterprise as well. in the 2011-2012 fiscal year, the Florida Lottery donated $1.31 billion to the Educational Enhancement Trust Fund, surpassing the $1 billion mark for the eleventh time in its history and expanding its all-time donation total to over $25 billion. Additionally, Florida donates funds to help construct new schools and other educational facilities. As of 2012, more than $3.9 billion in lottery-backed bonds have gone to school construction.
The Florida Lottery began operation on January 12, 1988 by order of a constitutional amendment approved by Florida voters by a 2-to-1 margin in the general election of November 4, 1986. The point of the Lottery is to give extra funding to Florida education, and it was mandated that a significant proportion of all revenue generated by ticket sales go to the Education Enhancement Trust Fund. The Bright Futures scholarship program is funded by the Florida Lottery. The minimum age to purchase a Florida Lottery ticket, regardless of game, is 18.
The first game offered by Florida Lottery was Millionaire, a $1 scratch-off game with a $1 million annuity prize. Total sales in the first 12 days totaled $95 million. Seventeen days of ticket sales allowed for the Lottery Commission to repay with interest the initial $15.5 million bond from Florida's General Revenue Fund that got it going.
Sheelah Ryan of Winter Springs, won the largest single lottery jackpot in world history to that point, a jackpot of $55.16 million. She was the 10th Florida Lotto winner. However, the Florida Lotto cash option (see below) was still 10 years away. She died before receiving all her winnings.
The first $100 million Florida Lotto jackpot was for the drawing on September 14, 1990. Six tickets split a $106.5 million jackpot. (There was no cash option for jackpot winners at the time.) That day, the Florida Lottery set a record with $30 million in revenue from that game alone.
In 1991, a daily four-number on-line game, Play 4, was introduced on July 4, with a top prize of $5,000.
December 1991 saw the advent of "Florida Lotto Month", where minimum jackpots and rollovers were guaranteed at $10 million for the Christmas season.
On September 27, 1993, the first $2 Scratch-Off game, Bingo, was introduced. Through variants, it is the longest-running Scratch-Off game by the Florida Lottery.
On January 24, 1994, Fantasy 5 expanded to Mondays through Fridays.
On May 22, 1994, the first Florida Lotto mail-in promotion began where losing tickets could be mailed in for a prize. Called the Great LOTTOMOBILE Giveaway, 50 tickets each won their holders a 30th Anniversary 1995 Ford Mustang.
In October 1995, the Florida Lottery launched Flamingo Fortune, a game show where people who sent in losing Scratch-Off tickets were selected to play for prizes.
On February 28, 1996, Barbara Arens of Clearwater was announced as the first winner of the Win for Life $2 scratch-off. She is receiving $1000 per week for life, paid in annual installments of $52,000, with a guarantee of $1 million. (There was no cash option available.)
The 500th Florida Lotto drawing occurred on November 29, 1996, with a jackpot of US$26 million. It rolled over twice before being won by PAPI-AMOR Partnership of Lake Worth.
The Lottery celebrated its 10-year anniversary on January 12, 1998. To that point it had grossed $21 billion in sales and given US$8 billion to Florida education.
On February 25, 1998, Mega Money began, a four-plus-one numbers drawing game played every Tuesday and Friday with jackpots in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Initially rolled out on an 18-week trial run, it was relaunched on a permanent basis on June 1, 1998.
Later in 1998, Florida Lotto began its cash option. The annuity, now optional, was lengthened to 30 annual payments. (Unlike with most other U.S. lotteries, a winner desiring the cash option must claim within 60 days of the drawing, instead of the more usual 60-day period after claiming.)
On October 24, 1999, Florida Lotto underwent major changes. The matrix increased from 6/49 to 6/53, with Wednesday drawings added. Because of the second weekly drawing, its initial jackpot was reduced to $3 million with lower initial rollovers.
Fantasy 5's matrix, on July 16, 2001, increased from 5/26 to 5/36. The top prize was changed to a rolldown format.
On September 8, 2003, the largest unclaimed ticket in the Lottery's 15-year history expired after the 180-day deadline with no one claiming the ticket. The Florida Lotto ticket was worth an estimated $53.7 million ($30.1 million cash). Note that while Florida Lotto (and Mega Money beginning in 2004) jackpot winners have 180 days to claim their prizes, if they want to be paid in lump sum, they must claim within 60 days of the drawing, unlike most US lotteries, which start the clock when the ticket is claimed.
On January 28, 2004, Mega Money was revamped. It was changed from a 4/32 + 1/32 matrix to a 4/44 + 1/22 matrix. Also, the jackpot was changed from all-cash to 20 annual payments with cash option.
On March 20, 2006 a new play option called EZmatch was added to Fantasy 5. For an extra $1, players can win up to $500 instantly, by matching their Fantasy 5 numbers to the random EZmatch numbers.
Governor Charlie Crist assumed office in 2007. On July 2, 2008, the Florida Lottery announced it would be joining Powerball, making it the 32nd lottery to join the Multi-State Lottery Association (MUSL), which includes the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The Powerball game changed to accommodate Florida, which then became the most populous MUSL member. Powerball sales began in Florida on January 4, 2009, for the January 7 drawing, the first to be held at Universal Orlando Resort. Florida became the home base of the Powerball drawing.
Florida Powerball drawings initially were held from Universal Studios in Orlando, but were shifted to the Tallahassee headquarters of the Florida Lottery. (Powerball drawings continue on Wednesdays and Saturdays.)
On October 3, 2009, the Florida Lottery announced its first Powerball jackpot winner. The winning ticket was worth $101,160,403.68 cash ($189 million annuity) and was the largest prize awarded by the Florida Lottery. Dr. William A. Steele claimed the prize, and elected to take the lump sum.
On October 11, 2009, the Florida Lottery introduced Lotto Xtra as an add-on for Florida Lotto. Players may elect to add $1 to the cost of their Florida Lotto ticket and multiply non-jackpot prizes by up to 5x.
On October 11, 2010, the Florida Lottery introduced Lucky Lines  to its online game offerings. Lucky Lines is an instant win game where players elect how much to wager on each ticket from $1, $2, $3, or $5. The Lottery computer then produces a 7x7 grid of numbers from 1 to 49 with the player numbers distributed throughout. If the player's 7 numbers form a straight line that ticket is a grand prize winner and is paid from $400,000 to $3,000,000 depending on the amount of the wager for that ticket. The top prize is always offered as a lump sum. Lesser prizes are offered for lines formed with 3, 4, 5, or 6 numbers as well as tickets where none of the 7 numbers are adjacent to each other. Lines can be diagonal, horizontal, or vertical on the play card. 
On February 28, 2013 the Florida Lottery announced it will begin selling Mega Millions tickets on May 15, 2013. Florida became the 43rd state to join Mega Millions. The remaining seven states do not have lotteries. Lucky Lines will end by the end of 2013.
The Bright Futures Scholarship Program was created in 1997 with revenues generated from the Florida Lottery, and was meant to emulate the Hope Scholarship in Georgia. Originally the program disbursed more than 42,000 scholarships totaling about $70 million. Later, the costs for the scholarship ballooned substantially. The Scholarship currently costs the Lottery’s coffers more than $436.1 million, with about 170,000 students taking advantage of the program.
Florida Lottery instant games range in price from $1 to $30, with higher priced tickets typically putting out a higher percentage of sales back into prizes. Payouts range from 58% to almost 77% of sales and average 70%. Some Florida Lottery agents provide instant ticket vending machines.
Webcasts of the Lottery's on-line games are available on the Florida Lottery web site. According to the Florida Lottery, $1.28 billion in proceeds went to Florida schools, about 5% of the education budget in 2008-2009.
Cash 3 is drawn every day during a live broadcast at 1:30 p.m. Eastern Time for the midday drawing, and 7:57 p.m. ET for the evening drawing. Three ball machines, each with balls numbered ranging from 0 through 9, are used. One ball is drawn from each machine. Anyone who matches the three numbers (in any order, or only in order, depending on how the numbers were played; Cash 3 and Play 4 offer several different options when playing) they are drawn wins up to $500 on a $1 ticket. On August 23, 2010, Florida added a 1-OFF selection to the Cash 3. This gives the player 26 extra combinations of his/her number in which the digits are 1 up or 1 down. If the number matched exactly, one would win just $250 instead of $500 for a $1 play and $125 instead of $250 for a 50-cent play. If one of the 1-Off numbers drew, one would win $10 on $1 plays and $5 on 50-cent plays.
Play 4 is drawn every day during a live broadcast immediately following the Cash 3 drawings. It is played the same way as Cash 3, except four ball machines are used. Anyone who matches the four numbers (in any order, or only in order, depending on how exactly the numbers are played; Cash 3 and Play 4 offer several different options when playing) in exact order wins $5,000 on a $1 wager. More recently, more ways to play involving multiple-number tickets were introduced. See the lottery website for further details.
Fantasy 5 is drawn every day during a live broadcast at 11:15 p.m. ET. A single ball machine is used with balls numbered from 1 through 36. (Before July 16, 2001, the matrix was 1 through 26, and before 1993, it was 1 through 39). Five balls are drawn from the machine. Anyone who matches all five numbers in any order wins or shares a top prize pool of around $200,000. Originally, if no one matched all five, the pool rolled down to the 4-out-of-5 winners. The rolldown feature in Fantasy 5 was modified on September 15, 2008. See the Rollover and Rolldown section below for more details. An astonishing 98 people won the August 28, 2012 Fantasy 5, reminiscent of a scene in the movie, Bruce Almighty. The reward for each winning ticket was only $1,992.32.
Mega Money is drawn each Tuesday and Friday during a live broadcast at 11:15 p.m. ET. Two ball machines are used, one with white balls numbered from 1 through 44 and a second with pink balls numbered from 1 through 22. (Before January 28, 2004, each machine contained 32 balls.) Four balls are drawn from the "white" machine, and one number (called the "Mega Ball") is drawn from the "pink" machine. Anyone who matches all four white numbers in any order plus the Mega Ball wins or shares the jackpot. The jackpot begins at $500,000 (annuity). If not won, the jackpot increases until it reaches $2 million, where it is capped. Any excess funds roll down to the lower prize levels. Unlike the original version of Mega Money, which was all-cash, jackpot winners desiring the lump sum must claim their prize within 60 days of the drawing.
Florida Lotto is drawn each Wednesday and Saturday during a live broadcast at 11:15 p.m. ET. A single ball machine is used with numbered balls ranging from 1 through 53 (before October 24, 1999, there were 49 balls). Anyone who matches all six numbers in any order wins or shares the jackpot.
In October 2009, the Lotto Xtra option was introduced, replacing Lotto Plus. Players can pay an additional $1 for each game, multiplying non-jackpot winnings by 2x, 3x, 4x, or 5x. Additionally, Lotto Xtra tickets win a free play for matching 2 of 6 numbers.
Powerball became available in Florida on January 4, 2009; the first drawing including Florida was on January 7, 2009. Powerball's jackpots currently start at $40 million; it is drawn Wednesday and Saturday nights. As a result of Florida joining Powerball, the regular drawing venue was moved from Iowa to Universal Orlando Resort (and was later moved to the Florida Lottery's headquarters in Tallahassee).
Mega Millions became available in Florida on May 15, 2013. It is drawn Tuesday and Friday nights.
Lucky Lines tickets went on sale on October 11, 2010. Players who wish to purchase this game must make two selections when they buy their tickets. First they must choose how much to pay for each ticket, either $1, $2, $3, or $5 and secondly they must determine if they wish to select a set of 7 numbers between 1 and 49 or let the computer select (Quick Pick) the numbers for them. Like previous online games players may mark their selections on a Lucky Lines play slip or verbally give their instructions to the Lottery Terminal operator. Unlike other Lottery online games players may not have a partial quick pick ticket. Players must either select all 7 numbers, or have the computer quick pick all numbers.
As each ticket is produced the Lottery's computer generates a 7x7 grid with the numbers 1 through 49 arranged in each cell. If the player selected their own numbers the grid will be completely randomized. If the player numbers were quick picked the numbers on the 7x7 grid will be in sequential order to make it easier for players to find their numbers on the grid. Regardless to the method of play, the game odds and dynamic are unchanged. Players are then asked to circle their 7 numbers on the grid and if 3 or more of the numbers for a straight line horizontally, vertically, or diagonally that ticket is a winner. In addition a ticket with no numbers touching is also a winner and will pay double the original ticket cost. Since the grid has all 49 numbers present it is not possible for any player numbers to not be in the grid; all tickets will have all 7 player numbers on the grid. Prizes are awarded for tickets with a single 3 number line, a single 4 number line, two independent 3 number lines, a 5 number line, separate 3 and 4 number lines, 6 numbers in a line, or all 7 numbers in a single line.  If all 7 numbers form a line the ticket is a grand prize winner and will pay $400,000 for a $1 bet, $1 million for a $2 bet, $1.6 million for a $3 bet, and $3 million for a $5 bet. All lucky lines prizes are lump sum awards. The odds of winning the top prize is 1:5,368,787. The odds of winning any prize is 1:4.37.
Unlike previous online games, Lucky Lines players do not have to wait till a future drawing to determine if their ticket is a winner making this game very similar to one of the Lottery's scratch off offerings. However, unlike scratch-off tickets where the winning tickets are all predetermined and top prizes may be sold before a player makes their purchase, the Lottery's computer randomly generates all Lucky Line tickets in real time. All Lucky Lines tickets have an equal chance of winning the top prize regardless of what tickets were sold in the past. Because Lucky Lines is an instant win game, tickets cannot be cancelled once purchased.
With the introduction of Mega Millions, Lucky Lines is scheduled to end by the end of 2013.
Though the Florida Lottery’s expenses and payouts vary from year to year, approximately 50 to 60 percent of its net revenue makes up the games’ prize pools, 30 to 40 percent is transferred to the Educational Enhancement Trust Fund, 6 percent is paid to retailers in the form of commissions, 2 percent is paid to the Lottery’s on-line and Scratch-Off ticket vendors, and the remaining 2 percent covers operational costs, including advertising.
All Cash 3, Play 4, and Fantasy 5 winners receive their winnings as a one-time, lump-sum payment. Any winnings of less than $600 may be redeemed at an authorized Florida Lottery retailer; higher winnings must be redeemed at a Lottery district office or at Lottery headquarters in Tallahassee. All non-Powerball prizes greater than $250,000, or Powerball prizes more than $1 million, must be redeemed at Florida Lottery headquarters. Mega Money jackpot winners may choose between an annuity of 20 payments that equals the advertised jackpot, or a lump-sum payment, which is about 2/3 of the advertised jackpot, less federal income tax withholding. Florida Lotto jackpot winners may choose between an annuity of 30 payments, or a lump-sum payment, which is about 1/2 of the advertised jackpot less federal income taxes. For both Mega Money and Florida Lotto, the cash option, if desired, must be exercised within 60 days of the applicable drawing. Florida does not collect income tax; however, like all U.S. lottery prizes, they are taxable by the federal government.
As of January 2013, the Florida Lottery had 13,200 retail stores selling products. Each retailer earns 5% of their ticket sales and 1% on cashed tickets. They also receive incentives for a top winning ticket sold in the big games. A $100,000 bonus is given to the store for a winning Powerball ticket. Publix is the largest retailer in the state, accounting for 18% of all lottery sales. 
Winners of Florida Lottery on-line games (Florida Lotto, Mega Money, Fantasy 5, Play 4, and Cash 3) must claim their prize within 180 days of the applicable drawing. Fifty percent of ticket sales go to prize payouts. Eighty percent of unclaimed jackpot money is transferred to the Educational Enhancement Trust Fund, while 20 percent of the jackpot is transferred to a prize pool for funding future prizes.
In addition to simple donations to education, the Florida Lottery has, along with the Florida Legislature established the Bright Futures Scholarship Program to help students pay for college. Since the program's inception in 1997, the Florida Lottery has contributed more than $3.9 billion to send over 600,000 students to college. The Florida Bright Futures Scholarship Program consists of three levels of awards. The first is the Florida Gold Seal Vocational Scholars Award, followed by the Florida Medallion Scholars Award, and finally the Florida Academic Scholars Award. Once the student is in college, these awards must be renewed by maintaining a minimum 2.75 GPA for Florida Gold Seal Vocational and Florida Medallion Scholars awards and a 3.0 for the Florida Academic Scholars Award. Each award has additional hours requirements to maintain.
Rollover: A rollover occurs when a jackpot is not won; it is carried over to that game's next drawing. Powerball, Lotto, and Mega Money both use rollovers to increase their jackpots when no one wins a drawing. Mega Money has a $2 million jackpot cap, after which any money in excess must roll down. Florida Lotto does not have a jackpot cap and can roll over as long as no one matches all six numbers. Powerball had a rollover cap but as of the 2012 game modification and conversion to a $2 price point game, no longer has a cap.
Rolldown: A rolldown occurs when a top prize pool is not won, and that money is redistributed to be shared with those that win a smaller prize. In Mega Money, when a $2 million jackpot is not won, any funds in excess of $2 million are rolled down and added to the pools for all other winners, except players who only matched the "Numbers" (they still get a free ticket). In Fantasy 5, whenever no player matches all five numbers, the top prize pool is added to the second prize pool (correctly matching four numbers.) On September 15, 2008, the Fantasy 5 rolldown was modified; the top prize pool now is added to second prize. However, matching four numbers is capped at $555 per occurrence; in such cases, the third prize (three numbers matched) pool receives the remainder of rolldown funds.
Quick-Pick: Players can fill out a bubble sheet with the numbers for the game they want to play. Another option is called Quick-Pick, which allows the lottery terminal to select numbers for the chosen game. In either case, players can opt for 52 consecutive draws (Advance Play) for Florida Lotto, 30 consecutive draws for Mega Money or Fantasy 5, and 14 consecutive draws for Play 4 or Cash 3. When the Florida Lottery's number games were established, however, quick-picks were not available, nor were Advance Play tickets—all purchasers had to select their own numbers for the next drawing only.
The Florida Council on Compulsive Gambling is an American non-profit 501(c)3) entity created to provide information, support and referrals to addicted gamblers, families, and their employers. It began the same year that the Florida lottery was implemented, and is funded from lottery revenue. They also have programs for education and prevention, plus training for professionals who have interaction with gambling-addicted individuals. The agency offers 24-hour telephone counseling, a website with interactive forums, and a speakers bureau.
Florida voters approved the lottery in 1986 to fund education enhancement. The law stipulated that 50% go to prizes, 38% go to education, and the remaining 12% used for lottery administration and promotion. Within a few years, the legislature began to subvert the original intent. In the state budget, they began to use lottery money to pay for education operating costs and salaries while shifting those tax dollars to pet projects and non-educational spending.
By 1994, voters were angry with the politicians in Tallahassee. Frank Brogan was elected Florida Commissioner of Education with Lottery funding being a key issue. Brogan's plan created the Bright Futures Scholarship Program, funded voluntary Pre-K programs for disadvantaged children, and provided enhancements for public schools, including educational technology and new classrooms. Brogan commented, "Floridians have come to see lottery funding of education as a giant shell game. This is important both to enhance education and to restore credibility to the lottery and government in general."
In 1995, State Senators Ken Jenne and Karen Johnson stated that the lottery wasn't funding education the way it should and filed bills to change that. Senator Jenne displayed an alternate Lottery logo to indicate that Lottery funding was in bad shape. For that year, Lottery money comprised 7.5% ($829 million) of the state's $11 billion education budget.