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About Florida Lottery
The Florida Lottery was founded in January of 1988 following a constitutional amendment passed by the Florida voters. The main goal in establishing the state run lottery was to generate additional funds in order to enhance state education. It was ordered that a significant portion of all funds raised by the lottery be forwarded directly to the Education Enhancement Trust Fund. The Florida scholarship program Bright Futures is financed by the Florida Lottery.
At its 10 year anniversary in January of 1998, the Florida Lottery had made $21 billion in lottery ticket sales and of that given $8 billion to education in the state of Florida.
FL lottery History
The very first Florida Lotto tickets went on sale in April 29, 1988 towards the first drawing held on Saturday, May 7, 1988. During the first decade of the game players had to pick six numbers from the board from 1 to 49 at a cost of one dollar per play. Draws were held weekly on Saturday nights at 11PM EST. In order to win prizes, players must match at least three numbers out of the six. In order to win the big jackpot, players must guess all six numbers correctly. At that time, winners of the jackpot would receive their prize in 20 equal payments over the course of 20 years. In an attempt to create a larger jackpot, Florida Lotto changed the distribution of the prize money in 1993. Instead of 25% of the prize funds being allocated to the jackpot, 33.5% were awarded to the big winner. Following this change the minimum jackpot prize came to $6 million.
November 1998 saw another change being made to the jackpot prize of the Florida Lotto. The payout plan underwent changes to allow winners to choose between receiving the jackpot in one lump sum, and receiving 30 equal annual payments, as opposed to the previous plan of 20 yearly payments.
In October of 1999 the most significant change was made to the Florida Lotto game. The board of numbers from 1 to 49 was expanded to include four more numbers. Players must now choose from the board of numbers from 1 to 53. Players must still pick six numbers from the board, and match all six in order to win the jackpot.
In addition, a second weekly drawing was added, held on Wednesday nights, in addition to the original drawing on Saturdays. Due to the additional drawing the Florida Lotto jackpot was reduced to $3 million. In case of national disasters, such as hurricanes or other chaotic incidents, the jackpot is further reduced to $2 million.
Florida Lottery Today
Since 2008 a new feature has been supplemented to the Florida Lotto game. Players can potentially increase their jackpot winnings in exchange for additional payment. For an additional $2, a player who wins the jackpot by matching all 6 numbers also wins a further $10 million in annual payments, on top of the advertised Florida Lotto jackpot. For an additional payment of $3 the jackpot winner wins a further $25 million in annual payments on top of the jackpot winnings. The additional payment does not have any influence on the winnings in the lower prize levels. If there is no jackpot winner who guessed all six winning numbers correctly, the original jackpot money is rolled over and added to the winnings of the next drawing. The additional $2 and $3 jackpot prizes are fixed amounts and therefore are not rolled over.
Florida Lotto winners have 180 days from the day of the draw to claim their prizes. Jackpot winners who wish to be paid their jackpot winnings in lump sum must claim their prize within 60 days from the day of the draw, or they will automatically receive their winnings in annual payments across a span of 30 years. The lump sum cash payment is equal to about two thirds of the advertised jackpot amount which is the projection of the annual payments. Florida Lotto jackpots that amount to more than $250,000 must be claimed at the Florida Lottery Headquarters in Tallahassee.
Other Fun facts
In September of 2003 the largest unclaimed Florida Lotto lottery ticket expired. 180 days had passed since the draw and the $53.7 million ticket was left unclaimed. 80% of unclaimed jackpot funds are passed forward to the Educational Enhancement Trust Fund. The remaining 20% is reinvested in the prize pool in order to fund future prizes.
The tenth ever Florida Lotto winner Sheelah Ryan from Winter Springs won a record breaking lottery jackpot at the time, $55.16 million. With the money she won Sheelah went on to do charity work in her area.