Floridians sure have developed an itch for scratch-offs, spending more than $3.4 billion last fiscal year, according to figures released Monday by the Florida Lottery.
That interest in scratch-offs drove Florida sales to a record $5.4 billion in sales from July 1, 2013, through June 30, 2014.
The $5.4 billion figure puts Florida No. 2 in the nation for lottery purchases, behind only New York. Sales are up $355 million from last year, when the state passed the $5 billion mark for the first time.
Scratch-offs accounted for about 63 percent of the total sales, the first time those games have surpassed 60 percent.
Two years ago, scratch-offs garnered $2.57 billion in sales and last year about $2.9 billion, but lottery officials say sales totals also are higher because there's a flood of newer, more expensive games. That includes a $25 scratch-off game this year, called 100X The Cash, and the popular Gold Rush series, which includes Gold Rush Tripler for $20.
Scratch-offs also return 70 cents per dollar to buyers, with the state keeping only 30 percent to apply to education. But scratch-offs also are the biggest problem for addicts. Of all calls to the state's gambling hotline about the lottery, 88 percent concern scratch-offs. Addiction experts say it's the instant gratification is the appeal.
About $1.95 billion was spent on games where players could pick their numbers (or use quick picks). Those games pay back 50 percent.
Powerball drew $469 million in sales this year, while the Florida Lotto garnered $349 million, Cash 3 $339 million, Fantasy 5 $288 million, Play 4 $257 million and Mega Millions $167 million. Mega Money, which was eliminated July 1 for Lucky Money, attracted $79 million in sales.
Sales were just over $5 billion last year and at $4.4 billion in fiscal year 2011-12.
Powerball and Florida Lotto drawings are Wednesday and Saturday nights. Mega Millions and Lucky Money are Tuesday and Fridays. Fantasy 5 is daily and Cash 3 and Play 4 are twice daily.
For odds and payouts, go to FloridaLottery.com.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun