OPPAGA text logo with graphic of FL historic capitol
OPPAGA text logo with graphic of FL historic capitol

Department of the Lottery

What is the purpose of the Lottery?

The Florida Lottery was created to allow the people of the state to benefit from significant additional moneys for education while playing lottery games. The mission of the Florida Lottery is to maximize revenues in a manner consistent with the dignity of the state and the welfare of its citizens.

How does the Lottery operate?

The Lottery is headquartered in Tallahassee, with nine district offices located throughout the state that provide field support services to retailers and act as prize redemption and sales centers.  Through a statewide network of approximately 13,000 full-service retailers including gas stations, grocery, and convenience stores, the Lottery sells a variety of both draw games and scratch-off (or instant) games. Since its inception, the Lottery has outsourced its core functions to produce, advertise, and sell tickets. In Fiscal Year 2019-20, approximately 79%, or $157.5 million, of the Lottery's $200.4 million appropriation was allocated to pay vendors for advertising and draw and scratch-off games.

How are vending machines used to distribute Lottery products?

The Lottery installed 1,000 scratch-off ticket vending machines in 2009 and another 500 in 2010, mostly in the Lottery's highest selling retailer locations around the state. In 2012, the Legislature enacted Ch. 2012-130, Laws of Florida, authorizing full service vending machines to sell both scratch-off and draw game tickets. In November 2012, the Lottery finished installing 500 full service vending machines in currently participating retailer locations. In 2018, the Legislature authorized the Lottery to contract for up to 1,000 full-service vending machines with functionality to sell terminal tickets and instant tickets. In addition, the Legislature authorized the department to have a maximum of 1,500 full-service vending machines with functionality to sell only scratch-off tickets.

How are winning tickets redeemed?

Winning tickets of less than $600 may be redeemed at any Lottery retailer or Lottery district office, the Lottery's headquarters, or by mail. To redeem a prize of $600 or more, the prizewinner must complete a Winner Claim Form. Prizes from $600 to $250,000, and Mega Millions and Powerball prizes of up to $1 million, may be redeemed at any of the Lottery's nine district offices. All winning tickets of $250,000 or less may be mailed to the Florida Lottery for prize payment. Prizes greater than $250,000 and Mega Millions and Powerball prizes over $1 million must be claimed in person at the Lottery's headquarters in Tallahassee. 

What is the Retailer Integrity Program?

The Lottery developed a Retailer Integrity Program that involves Lottery staff visiting and testing Lottery retailers using winning Lottery tickets to ensure the retailers are properly paying prizes to players for winning Lottery tickets, and are compliant with Lottery retailer rules and procedures. In these operations, retailers are selected for visits both at random and also based upon complaints from players. When tickets were not correctly processed for payment and an attempt was made to steal a player's winnings, store personnel have been arrested and the retailers' contracts have been suspended and/or terminated. The Lottery also investigates complaints received from players in an effort to ensure the integrity and fairness of the operation of the Lottery and with players' interactions with Lottery retailers. Information regarding criminal activity that is discovered or received by the Lottery is either acted upon the by the Lottery or forwarded to the appropriate law enforcement agency.

What is jackpot fatigue?

In recent years, U.S. lotteries have been experiencing jackpot fatigue, which is a national phenomenon whereby infrequent players only buy tickets when the jackpot for a draw game is huge, and the size of the jackpot needed to incentivize players to buy tickets increases over time. To address jackpot fatigue for Powerball, on October 4, 2015, the Multi-State Lottery Association (MUSL) launched enhancements to the Powerball game in an effort to stimulate sales after a period without large jackpots. MUSL changed the game matrix to stimulate larger jackpots and feature better overall odds, established a $50,000 third prize and added a 10X multiplier on Power Play. As a result, Powerball rolled to a new world record jackpot of $1.59 billion on January 13, 2016, and generated the biggest Florida sales week ever with $230.7 million in a single week.

How effective is Lottery advertising?

OPPAGA (Report No. 14-06) estimated that the return to the Educational Enhancement Trust Fund for $1.00 of advertising is between $0.29 and $1.60, with a midpoint of $0.94. The 2014 report found that increasing the Lottery's current level of advertising expenditures is not likely to translate into an increase in net revenues. Although the Lottery appears to have reached a saturation point for its advertising expenditures, major reductions in advertising have the potential to adversely affect transfers to education.

How are Lottery revenues distributed?

Gross revenues from the sale of lottery products are distributed to prizes, Lottery expenses, and transfer to the Educational Enhancement Trust Fund. Pursuant to s. 24.121(1), Florida Statutes, the Lottery determines the variable percentage of the gross revenue from the sale of draw and scratch-off tickets that is returned to the public in the form of prizes in a manner designed to maximize the amount of revenue earned to enhance education. Gross sales revenue also is used to pay the expenses associated with running the Lottery, including the cost of its retailer network, draw and scratch-off game vendors, advertising vendors, and its in-house operation.  The remainder of gross sales revenue is transferred to the Educational Enhancement Trust Fund.

How much revenue is generated for educational enhancement?

As of June 2018, the Lottery has generated more than $33.5 billion in revenue for the Educational Enhancement Trust Fund since 1988. In Fiscal Year 2017-18, the Lottery transferred $1.758 billion to the Educational Enhancement Trust Fund, 6.1%, or $101 million, more than in the prior year. Inflation-adjusted transfers to education increased $30 million, or 3.8%.
Lottery Transfers to the Educational Enhancement Trust Fund1
Transfer Type Fiscal Years
2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17 2017-18
Actual $ 1,495 $ 1,496 $ 1,693 $ 1,656 $ 1,758
Inflation Adjusted2 $ 737 $ 732 $ 823 $ 791 $ 821
1 In millions.
2
Adjusted, based on the consumer price index, to equate to Fiscal Year 1987-88 dollars.
Source: OPPAGA analysis of Department of the Lottery financial data.

How are educational enhancement funds used?

For Fiscal Year 2019-20, the Florida Legislature appropriated $2.1 billion in Educational Enhancement Trust Funds to benefit Florida's schools and students.
The largest portion of Educational Enhancement Trust Funds, 43% ($895 million), was appropriated to Florida's school districts. The $895 million included $222 million for school construction, $135 million for school recognition, $104 million in operating funds to reduce class size, $353 million for the Florida Educational Finance Program, and $81 million for school district workforce education programs. 
The Legislature also appropriated 29% ($595 million) to Bright Futures Scholarships, 25% ($531 million) to state universities and community colleges, and 3% ($65 million) to student financial aid.

How do the Florida Lottery's operating expenses and sales compare to those of other U.S. Lotteries?

Compared to other U.S. lotteries, the Florida Lottery had the second lowest operating expense rate in Fiscal Year 2016-17, behind Massachusetts. Florida ranked 10th highest among U.S. lotteries in per capita sales for Fiscal Year 2017-18.

What is the gaming compact?

A gaming compact between the State of Florida and the Seminole Tribe of Florida was approved by the Governor April 7, 2010, ratified by Ch. 2010-29, Laws of Florida, and approved by the U.S. Department of the Interior on July 6, 2010. The gaming compact provides the Tribe with partial but substantial exclusivity with respect to the play of covered games in exchange for payments to the state derived from gaming proceeds.

How are these activities funded?

The Lottery is self-supporting and receives no general revenue. Prizes and retailer commissions are paid directly from sales revenues and do not appear in the department's appropriation shown below. In Fiscal Year 2017-18, prizes totaled $4.394 billion and retailer commissions totaled $373.8 million.
Fiscal Year: 2020-21
Fund Dollars Positions
PROGRAM: LOTTERY OPERATIONS
186,970,413
418.50
TOTAL
186,970,413
418.50

Updates

Public Records Exemption. The 2019 Legislature enacted Chapter 2019-41, Laws of Florida, which created public records exemptions from inspection or copying of public records, for designated confidential and exempt information held by the Florida Department of the Lottery, which if released, could harm the security or integrity of the department, including information relating to
  • security of the department's technologies and practices to prevent attacks and unauthorized access;
  • lottery games, tickets and equipment information;
  • information required to be maintained as confidential for the department to participate in multistate lottery associations or games; and
  • personal identifying information and financial information for current or future retailers and vendors, received by the department as part of background investigations.

Where can I find related OPPAGA reports?

A complete list of related OPPAGA reports is available on our website.

Where can I get more information?

Other Reports
2017-18 Education Appropriations, Department of Education, November 2017.
Department of the Lottery - Comprehensive Annual Financial Report and Financial Audit - For Fiscal Years Ended June 30, 2018 and 2017, Auditor General Report No. 2019-090, December 2018.
Department of the Lottery - Office of Inspector General's Internal Audit Activity - For the Review Period July 2017 Through June 2018 - Quality Assessment Review, Auditor General Report No. 2019-032, October 2018.
Department of the Lottery - Comprehensive Annual Financial Report and Financial Audit - For Fiscal Years Ended June 30, 2017 and 2016, Auditor General Report No. 2018-078, December 2017.
Department of the Lottery - For Fiscal Years Ended June 30, 2016 and 2015 - Financial Audit, Auditor General Report No. 2017-103, January 2017.
Department of the Lottery - Selected Administrative Activities and Prior Audit Follow-Up - Operational Audit, Auditor General Report No. 2017-019, September 2016.
Department of the Lottery - For Fiscal Years Ended June 30, 2015 and 2014 - Financial Audit, Auditor General Report No. 2016-080, January 2016.
Department of the Lottery - Office of Inspector General's Internal Audit Activity - For the Review Period July 2014 Through June 2015 - Quality Assessment Review, Auditor General Report No. 2016-038, November 2015.
Department of the Lottery - Financial Audit - For the Fiscal Years Ended June 30, 2014, and 2013, Auditor General Report No. 2015-092, January 2015.
Department of the Lottery - Selected Administrative Activities and Prior Audit Follow-Up - Operational Audit, Auditor General Report No. 2014-198, June 2014.
Department of the Lottery - Financial Audit - For the Fiscal Years Ended June 30, 2013, and 2012, Auditor General Report No. 2014-095, January 2014.
The Auditor General reports on department operations are available on its website.
Gambling Impact Study, Spectrum Gaming Group, October 28, 2013.
Websites of Interest
Florida Council on Compulsive Gambling
La Fleur's
Multi-State Lottery Association
National Council of Legislators from Gaming States
North American Association of State and Provincial Lotteries
Performance Information
Performance measures and standards for the department may be found in its Long Range Program Plan.

What are the applicable statutes?

Article X, Section 15, Constitution of the State of Florida, Ch. 24, and s. 20.317, Florida Statutes.

Whom do I contact for help?

Florida Lottery Customer Service, 850-487-7787 or contact form
Website