TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NSF) – The urge for the instant gratification of Florida’s lucky number and scratch-off games continues to grow.
The Florida Lottery announced sales reached $5.58 billion in the fiscal year that concluded on Tuesday, the fourth consecutive year of record sales.
“We’re on our way to $6 (billion),” said Lottery Secretary Cynthia O’Connell.
Annual lottery sales cracked the $5 billion mark for the first time just two years ago, and a year ago hit $5.36 billion.
O’Connell credited much of the increase on scratch-off ticket sales, which have grown 60 percent in the past four years and now account for 67 percent of the lottery sales.
“They offer the opportunity to win instantly and instant gratification, but also they’re fun,” O’Connell said. “You scratch off a ticket right there and you know you’re a winner, and our players enjoy that.”
While about 60 percent of the money played on games is paid out to winners, about $1.5 billion will go to the Educational Enhancement Trust Fund this year. The fund provides money for a variety of education programs, from class-size reduction in public schools to scholarships for higher education.
The state hasn’t made any dramatic changes to its gaming lineup since Mega Millions was added in 2013.
O’Connell said in the next year there may some minor changes to the scratch-off games and to Powerball, a national lucky-number game that Florida is involved in along with 43 other states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
The voter-approved Lottery has grown from $1.8 billion in sales in 1989, its first full year.
The nearly 60 different scratch-off games, which range in price from $1 to $25, generated $3.7 billion in sales in the past year, up from $3.4 billion a year earlier.
Powerball continues to be the top terminal game in Florida, with $375 million in sales. The next most popular is Cash 3 at $363 million in sales, followed by Florida Lotto at $301 million, Play 4 at $276 million, and Fantasy 5, which attracted $257 million in sales. Mega Million created $147.4 million in sales in Florida.
“The News Service of Florida’s Jim Turner contributed to this report.”