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Florida Could Start Selling Lottery Tickets Online

Nov 29, 2014
Florida Lottery

Florida Lottery goes online

Florida Senator Gwen Margolis wants to allow lottery fans living in the Sunshine State to purchase their tickets online.While gambling bonuses are still a rarity in the US, offering lottery tickets via the internet is nothing new. Seven US states already sell tickets on their websites and Florida could soon join their ranks, if a bill proposed by State Senator Gwen Margolis passes.

However, the new bill has few details on how the web service would work. New York residents can buy tickets using credit cards; players living in Georgia use a prepaid lottery card system; Illinois limits online purchases to $150 a day and allows winnings to be deposited into an online account. In Florida’s case, these details haven’t been clarified yet.

In support of her proposal, Margolis argued that internet sales would help increase revenue for the lottery, which is among the state’s biggest fundraisers. On the other hand, many fear that stores will take a financial blow if players will be able to conveniently purchase tickets from the comfort of their own homes.

United Press International: Florida Lottery could sell tickets online if bill passes

Last week, Florida State Sen. Gwen Margolis, D-Coconut Grove, introduced a bill proposing that the Sunshine State allow players to purchase lottery tickets online. If the bill is approved, Florida will become the eighth state to legalize online ticket sales.

“[The lottery is] one of the biggest fundraisers we have,” Margolis said. According to the latest gambling news, the Senator believes that legalizing online ticket sales would be much more beneficial for the state than building a casino resort in South Florida. This is a project Las Vegas Sands Corp. has been lobbying for over the past months.

“This way, anybody who wants to buy them can buy them. Expand that instead of having big problems with major gaming in the community,” she affirmed.

Opponents of the bill fear that allowing people to purchase tickets online would create more problems for gambling addicts. Brian Kongsvik, the helpline director of the Florida Council on Compulsive Gambling, says being able to use a line of credit would cause people to lose that sense of pulling money out of their pockets. But Margolis argued that gamblers “like to sit at the table” and enjoy “the social part of it”.

All seven states offering online lottery tickets have their own payment mechanisms. The bill introduced by Margolis doesn’t mention which method would be used in Florida. Bill SB 120 is a one-page proposal stating:

“[The Lottery] shall have the authority to create a program that allows a person who is 18 years of age or older to make an online purchase of a Florida lottery ticket. The department may adopt rules to administer the program.”

Sun Sentinel: Florida Lottery may go online

Florida legislators could make playing the lottery a lot easier if they approve a bill introduced by state Sen. Gwen Margolis, D-Coconut Grove, and allow the lottery to sell tickets online. At present, tickets can only be bought at brick-and-mortar outlets and stores.

The Florida Lottery was founded in 1988, when voters passed a constitutional amendment that authorized the organization two years before. Over the years, lottery sales helped bring in $27 billion for education. Most of that profit was put in a trust fund to be divided up by the state legislature.

The proposal has some people worried about the harmful effects it might have on gambling addicts, but Margolis doesn’t think the online lottery would have a negative impact. Problem gamblers “like to sit at the table,” she said.

Brian Kongsvik, the helpline director of the Florida Council on Compulsive Gambling explained: “With any online gambling, and the potential to use a line of credit, it loses that physical pulling money out of pocket.”

When it comes to legalizing gambling, the organization is neutral. However, Kongsvik fears that making lottery tickets that easily accessible could result in more people needing the help of his organization.

“In theory, there is no doubt about it that some individuals that have a gambling problem, or the potential to develop one, could use credit lines to gamble more than they normally would,” he explained.

Florida Courier: Florida Lottery sales hit record-setting $5.3 billion

As Florida residents become more and more obsessed with scratch cards and lottery tickets, the state lottery reported it had reached record sales of $5.3 billion earlier in July. While part of that profit goes to the state budget and educational programs, the organization spends between $28 million and $30 million on advertising every year.

Even before the Powerball or Mega Millions rollover jackpot spurred sales, the Florida Lottery posted $5.36 billion at its last sales report. The year before that, it was just over $5 billion. About 60% of the money goes to winners, leaving $1.49 billion for the Educational Enhancement Trust Fund.

The increased revenues were generated by a growth in ticket sales. Scratch-off tickets are available in more than 13,000 locations across the state, with prices ranging from $1 to $25. Over the past year, sales went up by 12.7%. The $25 ticket is the most popular one, accounting for $13 million in weekly sales. Powerball sold $469 million, Mega Millions made $167 million and Lotto reached $349 million.

Lottery Deputy Secretary of Sales Tom Delacenserie said: “If we have a $600 million jackpot or $550 million jackpot, we just get out of the way and the sales take off. Last year we didn’t get up that high.”

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USA Powerball Lotto Winner of $254.2 Million Not Yet Found

Nov 13, 2011

USA Powerball Lotto winner not found

It’s been close to two weeks now since the official announcement stating that the winning ticket of the $254.2 Million lotto game was sold in the state of Connecticut.

Yet so far no one has come forward to claim what would be the state’s biggest promotions, with a Winning Powerball Ticket cash prize of monsterous proportions. Officials are beginning to suspect that the USA Powerball Lotto ticket was lost, misplaced, or thrown away.

Officials are even asking folks to go look in drawers, purses, wallets, pockets or inside the car because the winning ticket just has a 180 day life, and after the six months are gone (on Wednesday April 30, 2012), the ticket will expire and become quite useless.

USA Powerball Lotto

If the ticket is unsigned, then it’s the old “finders-keepers” rule, so just because you haven’t played, doesn’t mean that you can’t win if you happen to find the winning ticket and sign it first.

Overall odds of winning the USA Powerball Lotto jackpot prize are 1 in 195,249,054.

Good luck on your treasure hunt Connecticut!

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Prison guard mother buys wrong lotto ticket, wins $54 million

Oct 08, 2010
Lottery jackpot

Garina Fearon is a single mother living in Brooklyn, New York. She works as a prison guard, a job that isn’t much fun when inmates get unruly and decide to assault the guards. Despite these hardships, a lucky mistake last month changed Fearon’s life forever.

Fearson is not a gambler. She said she buys lottery tickets maybe twice a year. Last month she went to her local deli to buy a Powerball ticket, but wound up buying a Mega Millions ticket by mistake. She put the ticket in her pocket, went home, and didn’t even pay attention when the winning numbers were announced that evening.

Two days later, Fearson was at work when she looked up the winning numbers in a newspaper. She soon realized that by buying the wrong ticket, she had won 54 million dollars.

For now, Fearson has stepped away from her job as a guard at Rikers Island while she figures out what to do with her new-found fortune. One thing is certain – she will be sending plenty of money back to her mother in Jamaica.

Lottery winners are often faced with a choice – take a big cut in their prize and collect the remainder right away, or get the whole amount in small payments for years and years. Fearson went for the lump sum option, taking home a fat $33 million.

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Two lottery draws, two huge winners, two mysteries

Sep 22, 2010
Mega Millions

A pair of huge draws on the weekend resulted in the proverbial “life-changing wins,” as the Powerball and Mega Millions lottery jackpots were each hit by a single player – though neither has stepped forward to claim the prize.

On Friday night, the Mega Millions numbers were drawn on a $54 million jackpot. Numbers 3, 4, 14, 18, 27 and 13 came up to make one lucky citizen of New York City very happy – if he/she is even aware of the win. The jackpot was reset and, with no winner in yesterday’s draw, the September 24 jackpot is estimated to be at $16 million.

Over the weekend, the turgid Powerball jackpot stood at a big $116 million before a customer of Heby’s Shell gas station in Mableton, Georgia, chose the winning numbers 1, 18, 37, 39, 44 and 13 – making the key final numbers in both draws a lucky 13, incidentally – but he/she, too, has yet to come forward and claim the prize as of Wednesday morning.

Heby’s Shell will be receiving a $25,000 bonus for selling the winning ticket and, should the player claim his/her winnings as a cash option, the ticket will be worth a tidy $63 million before taxes. The winner has 180 days to claim the big prize.

The last occasion on which a Georgia player won the Mega Millions jackpot was just over a year ago, with a $12 million payout going to a Sharpsburg man on September 1st of 2009.

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County magistrate wins huge $79 million Powerball jackpot prize

Sep 02, 2010
Lottery JackpotA county magistrate in Berkeley County, West Virginia, will now be able to retire after winning a huge $79 million Powerball jackpot.

Magistrate W. Randy Smith, 63 years old, cancelled a scheduled vacation when he heard he’d won the jackpot in favor of his incipient extended holiday thanks to the eight-figure payout. Smith made his intention to step down from the bench, a position he was elected to in 2008, known in a fax to his boss, judicial circuit chief judge David H. Sanders.

Smith served as Berkeley County deputy sheriff for 12 years and as county sheriff for eight before the 2008 election.

In an interview with local media, Smith explained that he didn’t want his employees to be “left holding the bag” and that he would “certainly miss the people that I’ve met and worked with over the years. … I’ve just always enjoyed public service, [and] it has been rewarding to be able to help people.”

Smith said he planned to financially assist some family members with his prize, buy a new car and take a vacation overseas. After taking the “cash option” and figuring for taxes, Smith’s winnings amounted to about $30 million. The winning numbers were 07, 10, 12, 22, 27, and powerball 26.

The magistrate’s last day on the job will be September 6.

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Florida woman gets affairs in order, collects nearly $39 million in Powerball win

Aug 02, 2010
Powerball Jackpot

When people talk about “life-changing” multi-million prizes in lottery draws, they’re definitely visualizing Elizabeth’s Choras-Hanna’s win of the Powerball Jackpot Prize in July.

Thirty-five year-old Choras-Hanna, who is currently an unemployed medical assistant, will presumably be toning down the job search a bit after claiming her $73.8 million win on Friday. Residing in Hollywood, Florida, Choras-Hanna becomes the state’s second-ever Powerball winner. Opting for a one-time payment rather than installments, Choras-Hanna collected $38,929,055.11 for the winning ticket.

The winning numbers were 20, 21, 27, 28, 56 and Powerball number 4.

“[My sister and I] always go grocery shopping at Publix together, and before we leave we buy one Florida Lotto and one Powerball Quick Pick ticket,” Choras-Hanna said. “The next day, I went to another Publix and had them check my tickets and discovered our ticket was the jackpot winner.”

Choras-Hanna will be sharing the winnings with her sister and her sister’s husband. Though the draw was actually held on July 10, Choras-Hanna said she waited to collect the prize while she and her family “got their affairs in order first.”

In last Friday’s draw, a single winner from Louisiana bought a ticket with a progressive jackpot worth $85.7 million; this winner has yet to claim the prize. The winning numbers were 1, 16, 17, 41, 57 and Powerball 15.

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