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.