Florida Lawmaker: Large unclaimed lotto prizes should go to education

Sep 12, 2003, 9:58 pm (7 comments)

Florida Lottery

Instead of using an unclaimed $50 million Lotto jackpot to try to get more people to gamble, the state should have been able to spend the money on schools, a state lawmaker said Friday.

Rep. Charlie Justice said he plans to file a bill that would allow large unclaimed prizes -- like the $50 million that a ticket holder failed to claim this week before a 180-day deadline passed -- to be used for education.

Right now, all unclaimed money returns to the Lottery, which has to use it for promotions. The idea is that sales will increase, which helps the Lottery provide more money to schools.

"Maybe on some smaller prizes you can make some justification on return on your dollar, but when you're talking about this kind of money in this budget situation that were dealing with, you can't turn that kind of cash away," Justice said.

He said he previously co-sponsored a similar bill that died.

"To me this is just such a simple basic concept to get money into our classrooms," Justice said. "They weren't planning on having this type of cash to use for promotions." There have been 20 Lotto jackpots that have gone unclaimed since the game was created in 1989, ranging from $2.4 million in 1997 to $50 million this week. The second largest unclaimed prize in Florida was a $15 million jackpot in 1991.

AP

Comments

CASH Only

All unclaimed money should be returned in the form of PRIZES-otherwise why should the lottery ask players to look for ticket(s) about to expire.

Many lotteries are required to return a certain % back to players as prizes.

Bradly_60's avatarBradly_60

I would have to agree with that.  Why should all that money that was given as a prize go back to the state.  The state already got their share on the sales of a $50 million jackpot anyway.  Give it back to the players that bought tickets.

Brad

Todd's avatarTodd

A good recent example of a state lottery reusing jackpot funds to fuel bigger prizes was when the Michican Lottery retired Michigan Millions and started Winfall in January.  There were something like 5 Winfall drawings in a row that they disbursed all the built-up Michigan Millions money, and the players loved it.  (Too bad Winfall didn't have better staying power after that.)

smd173

By law the PA Lottery is required to put any unclaimed prizes back into the prize fund. The problem is they usually roll it into some $5 scratch off ticket.

I say that if a $50 Million jackpot isn't claimed, then that prize money should be put back into the fund for the game in which it was played.

Right now the Florida Lotto is at $6 Mil, image how cool it would be to have it suddenly balloon to $56 Mil?!

Littleoldlady's avatarLittleoldlady

For any unclaimed jackpots over a certain amount, they could split it with K-12 education which is hurting for money everywhere.

vincejr's avatarvincejr

Personally, I think all unclaimed jackpots should be given to Todd.

Todd's avatarTodd

Now you're talking!  (I need to find a way to get Vince into a Florida legislative job...)

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