The lottery operates one of the Unites States most lucrative single-state lottery systems and offers various different online lotteries and scratch-card games with a wide range of prize levels.
This state lottery system commenced operations in January 1988 with the primary aim of providing funding for state education.
The very first game offered by the Florida Lottery was Millionaire, a scratch off game costing $1.00 a ticket.
Here we will take a look at one offering from Florida Lottery in particular the Florida lotto.
The Florida Lottery was one of the first games to be offered by the Florida Lottery group, which has emerged as an industry leader, being launched in April 1988 shortly after the initial scratch card game.
It created a new national and world record in August 1988 when a $52 million jackpot was produced the largest ever globally at the time.
Draws take place every Wednesday and Saturday at 11.15 pm Eastern Time during a live television broadcast and tickets for that nights draw must be purchased by 10.40 pm.
The jackpot prize usually begins at $3 million and increases by rolling over when not won. This lottery does not have a cap on its jackpot and will keep rolling over until the jackpot is eventually won.
Florida Lottery players need to select 6 numbers from a pool of balls numbered 1 to 53. If the 6 numbers selected match the 6 numbers drawn in any order then the player will win a Florida Lotto jackpot.
Other cash prizes are won if either 3, 4, or 5 numbers are matched.
The other option a player has when choosing their Florida Lottery numbers is to use the Quick Pick box and allow the terminal to automatically generate some or all of their numbers similar to the Lucky Dip option available in the UK National Lottery and Europes Euromillions.
Before selecting your numbers however, you are required to decide how much you wish to play for with entries costing either $1.00, $2.00 or $3.00. The reason for this is outlined below
The draw takes place using a single ball machine to determine the 6 winning Florida Lottery numbers.
Two new jackpot levels were introduced to the game in March 2008 allowing Florida Lottery players the chance to increase the size of the jackpot they could win by paying an extra $1.00 or $2.00 on top of the basic $1.00 for their entry.
So ... the first thing to decide when playing is whether you want a $1.00, $2.00 or $3.00 entry into the game.
The base entry cost of $1.00 will have a jackpot guaranteed to start at a minimum of $3 million USD which will increase each draw by rolling over if all 6 numbers are not matched.
Paying the slightly increased wager of $2.00 for an entry will win the player an additional $10 million USD on top of the advertised jackpot, if they match all 6 numbers.
With the wager increased further to $3.00 for the entry, the player who matches all 6 numbers will win an additional $25 million USD in addition to the advertised jackpot.
So ... for a small increase of either $1.00 or $2.00 you can add $10 or $25 million to your winnings should you select all 6 numbers that are drawn.
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Please note that Florida Lottery ceased operations of the $2 & $3 Lotto with effect from October 14th 2009. The ever popular Flagship game - The Florida Lotto - is still going strong, though and you can continue to buy lottery tickets online for this game from lottery ticket sales agencies
These additional amounts are called $2.00 Lotto Plus and $3.00 Lotto Plus and are paid as annuities. The Lotto Plus added jackpot figures are fixed amounts and therefore dont "roll over" like the base jackpot.
This is quite a different and valuable feature when compared with most lotteries.
Historically, only resident citizens of the Sunshine State of Florida were allowed to play in any of the Florida Lottery games and tickets had to be purchased from an authorized retailer within Florida itself.
Now, however, you are able to choose your Florida Lottery numbers and purchase your tickets from online lottery ticket sales agents no matter where in the world you are living.
This is great news for all those people who live outside of Florida and the U.S.A. and wish to play in the Florida Lotto, guarantee their entry into the next draw and even choose the size of the jackpot they are aiming for.
Once you have entered into the game, you are also able to easily check the Florida Lotto results online to see how you have done and to find out if you have become one of the lucky lottery winners.
The minimum age for a player to be eligible to purchase a Florida Lottery ticket is 18 years for any of the games available including the Florida Lottery.
With tickets for the Florida Lotto first going on sale on April 29th 1988, the very first draw took place on May 7th of that year.
In February 1993, the prize structure was altered slightly to inject a bigger percentage of sales into the jackpot pool and to allow for a minimum of a $6 million USD annuity prize.
Even losers could become winners in May 1994 when Florida Lottery began its first mail-in promotion. It was called "The Great LottoMobile Giveaway" where players could send in their losing tickets to win one of 50 brand new Ford Mustangs.
November 1996 saw the 500th draw take place and this produced a jackpot of $26 million USD after "rolling over" twice and was won by a ticket holder in Lake Worth who held the correct Florida Lottery winning numbers.
On reaching its 10 year anniversary in 1998, the lottery had turned over $21 billion USD and provided $8 billion towards education in the state, very much accomplishing so far, what it had set out to achieve.
November 1998 saw a couple of significant changes to the way Florida Lotto operated.
Firstly, the cash option was introduced whereby players could choose a cash lump sum instead of the historical annuity payments for a jackpot win.
Secondly, the time period in which jackpot winners would receive the equal annual payments was increased from 20 to 30 years.
The biggest changes to way the Florida Lottery was run occurred in October 1999 which made the lotto even more appealing to an ever expanding market.
Firstly, 4 numbers were added to the matrix which changed from a 6/49 to a 6/53 configuration meaning that instead of picking 6 numbers from balls numbered 1 to 49, players would now pick 6 from a wider range of balls numbered 1 to 53.
Secondly, a completely new draw was added on Wednesday evenings meaning that there were now 2 draws per week giving even more people a chance of winning the lottery.
In September 2003 the 180 day claim deadline expired for what would be the games largest unclaimed ticket which was worth roughly an advertised $53.7 million USD.
In fact it is worth noting that 80% of all unclaimed Florida Lottery jackpot money is given to the Educational Enhancement Trust Fund with 20% being allocated to funding future lottery prizes.
The next big and quite unique change to the game occurred in March 2008 when 2 completely new jackpot levels were introduced (Lotto Plus) giving players the options to buy lottery tickets online or offline for an increased wager of either $2.00 or $3.00 giving them a vastly increased jackpot should they win.
So, over the years, the lottery has become part of the very nature of life in Florida, very much affecting the lives of those who live there. On the one hand, giving the people of the Sunshine State a reason to believe their dreams can come true whilst at the same time, providing much needed funding for the Florida educational system.
Now that the Florida Lottery has passed its 20th anniversary it is clear that it has truly achieved what it set out to do with more than $4 billion worth of lottery tickets being purchased each year and millions continuing to show their support for one of the genuine industry leaders.
The odds of winning the Florida Lottery Jackpot are 1 in 22,957,480 which, when compared to the likes of Powerball and Mega Millions are much more favorable.
The overall odds of winning any prize in the Florida Lotto are 1 in 67.
The odds of winning one of the second level prizes reduce dramatically to 1 in 81,409.
The odds of winning a third level prize look like this 1 in 1,415
With the fourth prize level odds being just 1 in 70.
The Florida Lottery produced the worlds biggest single jackpot payout to date in September 1988, only its first year of operations, when Sheelah Ryan of Winter Springs, won a fantastic $55.16 million USD.
The first Florida Lotto jackpot to reach the $100 million USD mark occurred in September 1990. The jacpot was, in fact, $106.5 million and was split 6 ways with each lottery winner getting $17.75 million. A record was set here with the organization generating $30 million in revenue from this one game.
Florida State lottery jackpot winners have a choice in how they are able to receive their winnings. They can choose to have either a single cash lump sum payment or an annuity prize.
If the Jackpot lottery winner chooses to receive an annuity as opposed to a lump sum, the winnings would be paid to them in 30 equal annual payments over a 30 year period.
In terms of value, the lump sum payment that a Jackpot lottery winner would receive would generally be roughly half that of the annuity value that they would get paid in equal annual payments.
The rules with any of the FLA Lottery games mean that you need to claim your prize within 180 days of the draw taking place.
If choosing to receive the cash lump sum option instead of the annuity payments for a jackpot win, you need to exercise this option within 60 days of the draw taking place otherwise the method of payment will automatically default to the equal annual payments annuity option.
Tax wise, Florida has no state income tax but as with lotteries across the whole of the U.S.A., prizes are taxable by the federal government.
The very minimum Jackpot prize would be $3 million and when not won this would increase with each "rollover".
With the Lotto Plus $2 per play option the minimum jackpot prize would be $13 million with just the $3 million base jackpot figure "rolling over" if not won.
With the Lotto Plus $3 per play option the minimum jackpot prize would be $28 million with just the $3 million base jackpot figure "rolling over" if not won.