The main lottery draw in Florida is one of the largest single state lotteries in the US.
It is available across Florida and there are also some international lottery companies that offer a concierge or betting service for this lottery too.
How it Works
Date and time of draws
The lotto has two draws each week on a Wednesday and Saturday at 11.15pm ET.
No. of balls and how to hit the jackpot
This is quite a simple lottery in that players choose just 6 balls from 53 with no bonus ball pot or selections. For the jackpot you need to predict all six balls.
The optional variation on the Florida Lotto is called Xtra and seems to be more popular than most multiplier type game variations with around 1 in 5 people playing the Xtra version. Players pay an extra $1 and the prizes are improved in their favour from between 2x and 5x (excluding the jackpot). The bottom tier prize of a free line (including the Xtra), for example, is only available to Xtra players. No wonder really that the Xtra $1 is popular as it gives the player a much better return for their money. When the jackpot is low just after a reset, for example, your return on a dollar with Xtra is around 0.52 and without, is around 0.27! At high jackpot values e.g. $20m+ though, you're slightly better off playing two lines rather than 1 line and the Xtra option.
Price, Tickets & Sales
At $1, the main game is quite affordable but it's definitely worth playing the Xtra variation, if you can.
Tickets Sold Per Draw
At 3.5m per draw, ticket sales for the Florida lotto are high, especially when compared with other state lotteries. The average is higher than the equivalents in New York and California, for example. That said, like many major draw games, the Florida Lotto itself is selling fewer tickets these days than it used to.
Sales per draw
Overall, the Florida Lottery organisation's revenues are up 4% year on year - but not of the Lotto game itself. In fact, the Lotto makes up just 5% of total revenues these days, with the state lottery making most money from scratchcards (67% of total!), other draws and Powerball sales. Megamillions, which was introduced in 2013, is also starting to eat into sales of the original Florida Lotto.
Odds of hitting the jackpot
The prize table for Florida Lotto does not have fixed prizes but is instead based on a pool or parimutuel distribution of percentages of ticket sales/winners. For this reason, typical prizes such as for 3 and 4 balls will vary depending on how many tickets were sold and how many matched in a given draw. The prize table showing average or estimated amounts is shown below.
At 22m to 1, the odds of hitting the jackpot are better than some (e.g. powerball, megamillions, euromillions etc.) but worse than others (Hoosier, Massachusetts Megabucks, Irish lotto).
Balls and Bonus Balls
*Average jackpot size when it is hit
** Two ball matches only payout on the 'Xtra' option (a free ticket)
Odds of winning any prize
The Florida lotto is not too generous when it comes to payouts at the bottom levels. On the main game, for example, you need at least 3 out of 6 balls to win anything. The odds of winning any prize then are 1 in 67, which is much higher than most lotteries. This is another reason why the Xtra option is so popular as it more than 'rectifies' the problem, giving you payouts on 2 balls (for a 1 in 8 chance of winning something) and also better payouts on 3, 4 and 5 ball matches.
The jackpot on Florida lotto is seeded with $2m and grows until hit with no caps.
The average jackpot you might see advertised for the Lotto is $5m and when hit the jackpot will be around $8m.
Average jackpot when hit
The average jackpot when hit is around $8.5m. A comparison of jackpots is shown in the graphic here.
Highest jackpot ever
In 1990 a jackpot worth $106m was split between 6 tickets.
Jackpot winners per year
As sales of the main lotto game are declining, there will be fewer jackpot winners per year these days. You should see around 16 jackpots per year, which is similar to the number achieved this last year.
Contribution to the jackpot
Around 28c of every $1 of stakes is added to the jackpot itself - not as generous as the megamillions but above average for a lottery.
Return to Player
Florida lottery state that 65% of sales are returned to players in the form of prizes although this will depend a little on the game that is played. We calculate that this is a bit lower for the Florida Lotto than for other draw and instant win games, for example. It will also depend on the size of the jackpot you are playing against at the time too - see below. 31% of total sales of the lottery organisation are invested in education in Florida.
RTP when first seeded
The return to player when a jackpot is first reseeded with the minimum of $2m is not great at 27c in the dollar.
If you're a regular player of the Florida lotto, things are a bit better in that your return on ticket price is nearer 41c (0.60 with xtra) if you play week in week out.
RTP when jackpot typically hit
When a typical jackpot is hit, which should be around $8.5m (but will of course vary massively) the return on $1 of stake is around 0.55 (0.67 with xtra!).
When the jackpot reaches $20m this Lotto gets interesting. Probably not interesting enough though if you take into account federal taxes and the chance of sharing your jackpot. But if you let the jackpot reach $28m you're looking at a 'sound investment'!
Payouts and Taxes
Annuity vs Cash
The cash option on the advertised jackpot (which is based on 30 annuity payments) is around 69% before federal taxes.
Federal taxes apply but there are no local state taxes payable on the Florida lottery.
As state lotteries go, Florida has one of the largest in the US. The odds you face of hitting the jackpot are fairly high but there are worse too. The second prize is a bit disappointing and you should look at playing with the Xtra multiplier when you do play. Overall, I imagine that the Megamillions product (and Powerball) will eat further into the sales of this lotto over the next few years, and probably for good reason as it's a bit of a 'tired' product.
No local taxes is good and the Xtra multiplier variation is definitely worth taking up. Jackpots can get fairly meaty for a state lottery so one to keep your eye on.
Declining in favour of other games, draws and products. Second tier prizes a bit disappointing.
If you do play regularly, definitely play with the Xtra multiplier. Otherwise, set your jackpot alert for this one to around $20m+ and definitely play at $28m. To play a lottery online, choose from one of our preferred agents.