TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/AP) – Just about everybody has thought at one time or another about what it would be like if they hit a big Florida Lottery or Powerball jackpot and never had to worry about money again.

Lately, more and more people are plunking down their dollars in hopes of hitting it big.

New figures from the Department of Lottery show that sales of several lottery games have taken off since September. Scratch-off tickets have been especially popular as sales have been nearly 12 percent higher than state officials had forecast in September. Powerball ticket sales have also jumped up 11 percent higher than expected

In a sign that the state’s long-battered economy may be on the mend, state economists are now projecting that overall lottery ticket sales may reach $4.29 billion for the fiscal year that ends next June. That would be a jump of nearly 7 percent overall if it holds up.

This past year state lawmakers steered nearly $1.2 billion from lottery sales to pay for education and merit-based college scholarships.

(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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