Florida Lottery

Florida Lottery

The Florida Lottery is one of the most lucrative single-state lottery systems in the United States with numerous on-line and scratch-off games offering players a wide variety of prize levels.

The minimum age to purchase a Florida Lottery ticket, regardless of game, is 18.

In January 2009, Florida will join the Powerball game; its double matrix will be changed to accommodate what will be Powerball's most-populated member.


It 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 state 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 first game offered by Florida Lottery was Millionaire, a $1 scratch-off game with a US$1 million annuity prize. Seventeen days of ticket sales allowed for the Lottery Commission to repay with interest the initial US$15.5 million bond from Florida's General Revenue Fund that got it going.

The first on-line number-drawing games offered by the Florida Lottery were "Cash 3" and "Florida Lotto", which both started on April 29, 1988. Florida Lotto, the six-number game with multi-million-dollar jackpots, had its initial jackpot at US$2 million, and was played every Saturday initially, with the first drawing being April 30. From that point on, jackpots would start at $6 million and roll over, or increase, if no one won. Josie Moore of Port Charlotte, Florida, won the first jackpot on May 28. It was worth US$14 million, and paid in an annuity of 20 yearly payments. Cash 3 had a US$500 jackpot.

On September 3, Sheelah Ryan of Winter Springs, Florida, won the largest single lottery jackpot in world history to that point, a jackpot of US$55.16 million. She was the tenth Florida Lotto winner. However, the Florida Lotto cash option was still ten years away. She died before receiving all her winnings.

On April 28, 1989, the Florida Lottery expanded with "Fantasy 5", a five-number on-line drawing game played every Tuesday and Friday initially. Its jackpots were typically in the tens of thousands of dollars, but had reached over $1 million through rollovers.

The first US$100 million Florida Lotto jackpot was on September 14, 1990. Six tickets split a US$106.5 million jackpot, each getting $17.75 million. That day, the Florida Lottery set a record with US$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 10 sees the advent of the "Florida Lotto Month", where minimum jackpots and rollovers were guaranteed at US$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 in the Florida Lottery.

On January 24, 1994, Fantasy 5 expanded to every weeknight (Monday through Friday.) On May 22, 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 lucrative prizes.

On February 28, 1996, Barbara Arens of Clearwater, Florida, was announced as the first grand prize winner of the Win for Life $2 Scratch-Off game. She is guaranteed a payout of US$1,000 per week for the remainder of her life, paid out in annual installments of US$52,000, with a guaranteed total payout of US$1 million should she die before she reaches that amount.

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 US$21 billion in sales and given US$8 billion to Florida education. On February 25 of that year, they began Mega Money, a four-plus-one numbers drawing game played every Tuesday and Friday with jackpots in the hundreds of thousands of dollars USD. 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.

On February 2, 1999, Florida Governor Jeb Bush declined an offer to join the multi-state Powerball Lottery.

On October 24, 1999, Florida Lotto underwent major changes. It was increased from a 6/49 matrix to a 6/53 matrix, with Wednesday drawings added. Because of the second weekly drawing, its initial jackpot was reduced to US$3 million with lower initial rollovers. Fantasy 5 followed suit on July 16, 2001, increasing to a 5/36 matrix from a 5/26 matrix and changing 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 roughly 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 states, 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.

In 2005, a new online ticket package called "Grouper" was made available with the statewide rollout of new ticket sales terminals, manufactured by Rhode Island-based GTech. For $5, a player can get quick-picks of each of the five online games (Cash 3, Play 4, Fantasy 5, Mega Money and Florida Lotto), each for the next available drawing, then a free ticket for a major game (Fantasy 5, Mega Money or Florida Lotto) chosen at random.

On March 20, 2006 a new play option called "EZmatch" was added to Fantasy 5. For an extra $1, players can win up to US$500 instantly, by matching their Fantasy 5 numbers to the random EZmatch numbers.

On July 2, 2008, the Florida Lottery announced it would be joining Powerball in January 2009, about a decade after it was originally supposed to be available in Florida. The Powerball game will be changed to accommodate Florida, which will become the most populated MUSL member.

Instant games

Florida instant games range in price from $1 to $30, with higher priced tickets typically putting out a higher percentage of sales back into prizes. The payout percentages for each price point are as follows:

^The long-running $10 Cash Bonanza has a 76% prize payout.

Online games

Florida is the only U.S. state lottery that does not currently participate in any multi-state games; all others have either Powerball or Mega Millions. However, Florida is expected to join the other Powerball states in January 2009cite news | url=http://www.marketwire.com/press-release/Multi-State-Lottery-Association-875353.html | title=Powerball® Welcomes the Florida Lottery as Its Newest Partner | publisher="Marketwire" | date=2008-07-02 | accessdate=2008-04-12] .

Cash 3 is drawn every day during a live broadcast at 1:30 p.m. ET 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 exactly the numbers are played; Cash 3 and Play 4 offer several different options when playing) they are drawn wins a guaranteed US$500 jackpot.

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) wins a guaranteed US$5,000 jackpot. Recently more ways to play involving multiple-number tickets have been 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, it 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 US$200,000. If no one matches all five, the pool rolls down to the 4-out-of-5 winners. On September 15, 2008, the rolldown feature in Fantasy 5 was modified. See the Rollover and Rolldown section below.

Mega Money is drawn each Tuesday and Friday during a live broadcast at 11:00 p.m. ET. Two ball machines are used, one with white balls numbered ranging from 1 through 44 and another with pink balls numbered ranging from 1 through 22 (Before January 28, 2004, it was 1 through 32 for both). 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 minimum jackpot is estimated at US$500,000 annuity value. Jackpots can roll over up to $2 million, but freeze at $2 million. Any excess funds roll down to the lower prize levels. There is a cash option, but in order to receive the lump sum, the ticket must be claimed within 60 days of the drawing.

Florida Lotto is drawn each Wednesday and Saturday during a live broadcast at 11:00 p.m. ET. A single ball machine is used with numbered balls ranging from 1 through 53 (before October 24, 1999, it was 1 through 49). Anyone who matches all six numbers in any order wins or shares the jackpot.

In March 2008, two new jackpot levels were added to the game, allowing players to purchase $2 and $3 plays for larger jackpots. The base jackpot, a $1 play, remains the same—starting at a guaranteed US$3 million and increasing with each rollover if no one matches the six-of-six winning numbers. A $2 play offers players the opportunity to win the base jackpot plus $10 million from the $2 jackpot prize pool; and, a $3 play offers players the opportunity to win the base jackpot, the additional $10 million jackpot and an extra $15 million from the $3 jackpot prize pool—for a total of $25 million added to the base jackpot. Players who match the six-of-six winning numbers will share the base jackpot as well as the bonus jackpot in the applicable jackpot prize pool. If no ticket matches all six winning numbers, the base jackpot rolls over and the cash in the base jackpot prize pool is carried over to the next drawing. The $2 and $3 jackpot prize pools are fixed amounts and are not carried over.

Powerball (available January 4, 2009; first drawing with Florida January 7, 2009)

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, six percent is paid to retailers in the form of commissions, two percent is paid to the Lottery’s on-line and Scratch-Off ticket vendors and the remaining two percent covers operational costs, including advertising.

All Cash 3, Play 4, and Fantasy 5 jackpot winners receive their winnings as a one-time, lump-sum payment. Any winnings of less than US$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 Mega Money and Florida Lotto jackpots of more than US$250,000 must be redeemed at Florida Lottery headquarters. Mega Money jackpot winners may choose between an annuity of 20 payments that roughly equals the advertised jackpot, or a lump-sum cash 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 that roughly equals the advertised jackpot, or a lump-sum cash payment, which is about 1/2 of the advertised jackpot less federal income taxes. For both Mega Money and Florida Lotto, the cash option must be exercised within 60 days of the applicable drawing. Florida does not have a state income tax; however, like all U.S. lottery prizes, they are taxable by the federal government.

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. 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.

Rollover, Rolldown, and "Quick Pick"

Rollover A rollover occurs when a jackpot is not won, and it is carried over to that game's next drawing. Mega Money and Florida Lotto both use rollovers to increase their jackpots when no one wins a drawing. Mega Money has a US$2 million jackpot cap, after which any money in excess must rolldown. Florida Lotto does not have a jackpot cap and can rollover as long as no one picks the winning numbers.

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 "mega ball (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 is added to second prize, however, matching four numbers is capped at $555 per occurance. In such cases, the third prize (three numbers matched) pool receives the remainder of rolldown funds.

Quick-Pick Normally, players fill out a bubble sheet with the numbers for the game they want. Another option is called Quick-Pick which allows the computer 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 first 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.

See also

* Florida Lotto


External links

* [http://www.flalottery.com/ Florida Lottery official site]
* [http://www.maximumedge.com/lottery/florida.htm Florida Lottery Results]
* [http://www.plainmath.net/index.php?page=lottery Chances of Winning the Florida Lottery at PlainMath.Net] The chances of winning the Florida Lottery Grand Prize, with comparisons to other events.

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