The readers’ forum

25 years of winners in Florida

 

As we count down the days remaining in the calendar year, we often reflect upon our achievements before setting new goals and resolutions for the coming year. And this year, the Florida Lottery’s 25th anniversary was quite a year. The state’s self-supporting, revenue-producing lottery department experienced a resurgence in interest from the public and players. After 25 years in operation, the lottery managed to break records in 2013 — the highest sales ever, the biggest winner ever and, more important, the most money to education ever, all in a single year.

This is great news for all Floridians because it is a win for our state in many ways. Nearly 98 percent of the lottery’s revenue is returned to Florida residents, businesses and communities in the form of prize payments, education funding and goods and services; therefore, making an impact on the lives of everyone in the Sunshine State.

When the lottery began, 1,600 Florida businesses signed on to be retailers. With their support, the lottery was able to transfer $46.26 million to the state’s trust fund to benefit education after the first month. Now, Floridians continue to support it by purchasing tickets, and in return the lottery has paid an average of $255 million in prizes to players and approximately $20.81 million in bonuses and commissions to retailers each month this year. It has generated significant funding for education by transferring revenue totaling more than $100 million each month to the state’s trust fund.

With this month’s revenue transfer, the last for the calendar year, the lottery has now generated more than $26 billion for Florida’s education system since its inception in 1988. Its commitment to generating revenue for education remains at the forefront of all decisions involving the organization.

The lottery’s employees, retailers and vendors must execute all operations, from daily drawings to paying prizes, with the highest degree of attention paid to the security and integrity of the games. Its reputation was established early on and has never wavered in its commitment to providing players with the best, most-entertaining games available while also providing Florida businesses and education with additional revenue streams. These practices make up the pillars of the Florida Lottery, which are Flamingo Pride, Driving Excitement, Optimistic Moments, Funding Tomorrow and Integrity Above All.

In the new year, the lottery will continue to achieve new marks and operate in a way for which Floridians can be proud. We will find new ways to engage players and communities around the state. It will continue to monitor its operating expenses, a practice that has resulted in maximizing profits while having one of the lowest expense rates among domestic lotteries. Finally, the Florida Lottery will serve the people of Florida, who created it for the benefit of the entire state.

Cynthia O’Connell, secretary, Florida Lottery, Tallahassee

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