MIAMI ( – It’s been 25 years since Florida voters first approved a lottery in the Sunshine State.

Since that approval, Florida officials say the lottery has contributed $23 billion towards education through the Educational Enhancement Trust Fund.

“Contributing $23 billion to education in Florida has made a significant impact – from classroom construction to funding education programs,” Lottery Secretary Cynthia O’Connell told the News Service of Florida. “One of the most rewarding contributions has been the fact that 500,000 students have gone to college because of a Florida Lottery-funded Bright Futures scholarship.”

Still, education is not doing quite as well as lottery backers had hoped. It’s not due to the lottery money not being there. Instead, the legislature has used education cuts to help fund other parts of the government.

That left the lottery money to make up the difference between the two funds, and many years, it’s not been enough and education has suffered.

Still, the lottery has expanded to 13,000 retailers across the state. It’s even gone high-tech in 2011. The Florida Lottery announced Friday that players can download an iPhone app will tell them the most recent winning numbers and jackpots.

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