Florida Lottery reports record year, project $5.1B in sales

By on January 5, 2014
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As the Legislature wrestles with expanded gambling in the Sunshine State, the Florida Lottery reports a record year in sales of scratch-offs and Powerball tickets.

On Thursday, the 25-year-old Florida Lottery announced the pace of games they offer are running ahead of last year’s record-setting $5 billion.

From July through December, sales rose to $2.6 billion, with projected sales to exceed $5.1 billion for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2014. Estimated Florida Lottery sales would provide $1.43 billion for education, the agency tells Jim Turner of the News Service of Florida.

“The Lottery’s sole mission is to sell tickets to generate additional funding for education,” Lottery Secretary Cynthia O’Connell said in a release. “We are extremely proud that this unprecedented sales record will assist in furthering that goal,”

The agency released numbers just as lawmakers begin to consider the future of gaming in Florida, including possibly allowing Las Vegas-style destination casinos.

Florida Lottery has grown from $1.8 billion in 1989 sales, the first full year of the voter-approved measure.

Scratch-off tickets, ranging in price from $1 to $25, are available at 13,000 locations across Florida.

Sales of scratch-off games were $1.57 billion from July through December last year, up nearly 14 percent from the previous year. Higher priced tickets are best sellers, offering instant results for larger payouts, Lottery spokesperson Meagan Dougherty told the News Service.

A $25 Millionaire scratch-off ticket, introduced in September 2012, gives buyers an opportunity for 25 top prizes from $1 million to $5 million. The odds of a winning ticket are from one in 5 million to one in 6 million.

Powerball and Florida Lotto, known as terminal games or lucky number drawings, account for a little over $994,000 in sales between July and December, which is 1.5 percent higher than the same period last year.

Dougherty said Powerball activity dipped slightly last year because a “monster jackpot” of $587.5 million in November 2012 expanded the previous year’s totals.

At the same time, sales of Mega Millions, introduced in May, boosted terminal games by $89 million. Mega Million’s minimum jackpot went from $12 million to $15 million in October. That multi-state game helped fuel sales after a series of rollovers created a Dec. 17 jackpot of $636 million.

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