By Team

TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NSF) – Federal stimulus checks could provide a short-term boost to Florida’s lottery, while play is expected to slow later amid widespread vaccination against COVID-19.

A state panel known as the Revenue Estimating Conference noted lottery games, particularly scratch-off tickets, saw increases when Floridians received earlier federal coronavirus relief checks. The panel expects the trend to continue as a new round of checks arrive through a stimulus package signed into law this month by President Joe Biden.

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“The conference increased the overall sales forecast by $594 million in fiscal year 2020-21 based on the expectation that the pandemic-induced activity will continue throughout the remainder of the year,” the panel said in a summary released Thursday. “With the widespread distribution of a vaccine expected early in fiscal year 2021-22, sales are projected to decline 7.3 percent or $641.5 million from the prior year.”

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The forecast would increase the expected transfer of lottery money to the state’s Educational Enhancement Trust Fund by $164.2 million for the current fiscal year, which ends June 30, and by $55.1 million next fiscal year.

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