The Lottery in Florida
All About the Florida Lottery
The Florida Lottery, administered by the Florida Lottery Commission, finds it home in beautiful Tallahassee, Florida. It is one of the most profitable and popular state lotteries in the United States. This charitable enterprise was born on January 12, 1988, two years after Florida voters approved gambling in order to improve the state’s funding for education. To this day, 35% of all proceeds from lottery tickets go to fund the state’s educational causes such as The Bright Futures Scholarship.
The first game ever offered to the public by the Florida Lottery Commission was called Millionaire. Millionaire was a simple scratch card name that cost only one dollar per play but promised a grand payout of one million dollars. This first Florida Millionaire lottery was so successful that the Florida Lottery Commission was able to pay with interest all of the money it borrowed (a whopping 15.5 million) from the state’s General Revenue fund after selling just seventeen days worth of tickets.
Cash 3 and Lotto
After the initial success of such a simple scratch lottery like Millionaire, the Florida lottery commission then expanded by creating two brand new lottery games – Cash 3 and Lotto. Both games were introduced on April 29, 1988. Cash 3 was a simple daily lottery with a fixed jackpot of five hundred dollars. Lotto, on the other hand, was a six number game with multi-million dollar jackpots that started as $6 million dollar pots and then rolled over with each draw to outrageously high sums. The very first jackpot was won by Josie Moore of Port Charlotte Florida; it was worth $14 million.
The Florida Lottery’s reputation for rolling over jackpots and enormous cash prizes is legendary. In fact the winner of the largest single jackpot by a solo individual player was Selah Ryan of Winter Springs Florida. She won an unheard of $55.16 million in 1988. T
he first jackpot was won by Josie Moore of Port Charlotte Florida and it was worth $14 million. In both the case of Ms. Moore and Ms. Ryan, the winners opted to receive half of the reward amount as a lump sum rather than have the sum paid out in a progressive annuity over their lifetime.
The World Record Lottery Jackpot
However the above jackpots were nothing compared to the world record breaking $106.5 million that was won by six players playing the Florida Lotto on September 14, 1990. This garnered each of these player 17.75 million and a lot of fond publicity on CNN. That same day the Florida lottery also outdid itself in terms of profits, bringing in a record $30 million dollars for sales of the $100 million dollar lottery alone. On October 24, 1999, the Florida renovated this lottery by offering it two days a week.
Fantasy 5 and The Great Lottomobile
On April 28, 1989, the Florida Lottery introduced Fantasy 5, a five-number on-line drawing game played every Tuesday and Friday. Currently it is drawn every weeknight. Its jackpots were typically in the tens of thousands of dollars. An incredibly lucrative and popular promotion was added to this lottery called the Great Lottomobile. The promotion allowed players to mail their losing tickets into the lottery corporation so they could win a 1995 Ford Mustang. Being able to play losing tickets was an incredible incentive and raised loads of cash for the lottery to then put to use in its charitable causes.
In 1991, the Florida Lottery introduced a daily four-number online game that has also proved to be popular and a big money maker for the state. Play 4, is introduced on July 4, with a top fixed prize of $5,000 and lesser prizes that are awarded according to different play combinations.
In October 1995, the Florida Lottery Commission got into the game show business and launched Flamingo Fortune. This was a game show where people who sent in losing scratch-off tickets were selected to play as contestants in a quiz style game for lucrative prizes.
Cash For Life
The following year, the commission then expanded its lottery system even more by introducing a Cash For Life Lottery scratch and win ticket. This first big winner was Barbara Arens of Clearwater Florida who was guaranteed $1000 a week for the remainder of her life paid out annually. Not a bad return for a two-dollar investment in a scratch and win ticket.
On February 25th of its tenth anniversary, the commission introduced Mega Money, a new lottery that featured a four plus one bonus number online drawing game played every Tuesday and Friday. The jackpots awarded in this lottery were typically in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Also in 2005, a new online ticket package called Grouper was made available with the statewide launch of thousands of new ticket sales terminals, For $5, a player can get quick-picks of each of the five online games (Cash 3, Play 4, Fantasy 5, Mega Money and Lotto), each for the next available drawing and also a free ticket for a major game (Fantasy 5, Mega Money or Lotto) chosen at random. This, of course, is an incredible Quick Pick type deal when it comes to lottery packages.
To date, the Florida Lottery has raised $14 billion for Florida education attesting to the success of the entire endeavor. In all of the Florida lottery commission games, 50% of the total revenue makes up the game's prize pool, 35% is transferred to the Education Enhancement Trust Fund, and the remaining 15% covers operational costs. To the lottery’s credit its operational costs are low considering what a large organization it has become to administer over the last quarter of a century.
You can also find Florida lottery results updated regularly on World Casino Directory.
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