Florida Lotto tickets — $1 since 1988 — just doubled in price and players aren’t happy
“All you need is a dollar and a dream.”
Florida Lotto players can forget that slogan. The price to dream just doubled to $2, and many people aren’t happy about it.
“It’s a real good scheme they got going there,” grumbled longtime player William “Bill” Price of North Miami after finding out about the price hike that took effect Oct. 8. “It looks like they’re just coming up with money-generating stuff.”
If you’re not a regular player, you might not have noticed that Florida Lottery’s original six-number Lotto game still exists amidst a bewildering pile of drawings like Powerball, Mega Millions, Picks 2 through 5, Fast Play, Jackpot Triple Play, Cash 4 Life, and no less than 99 different scratch-off games priced up to $30.
Introduced in April 1988 as the Department of the Lottery’s flagship game, the now-twice-weekly drawing cost $1 per chance for 32 years even as the state tacked on higher-cost options and surrounded it with ever-more complex and expensive ways to kiss one’s cash goodbye.
The cost to play the multistate Powerball game jumped to $2 in 2012 while the other multistate game Mega Millions followed suit in 2017. But those price increases led to much-bigger jackpots.
The Lotto jackpots did not double along with the ticket prices. However, the amount of money added to “rollover” jackpots — the ones that grow when no one wins — increased from about $500,000 before the price hike to $1 million now.
For example, after no one won the $2.5 million jackpot on Sept. 12, it became a $3 million jackpot on Sept. 16. The first jackpot after the price increase — $7 million on Oct. 10 — became an $8 million jackpot on Oct. 14.
In an email statement, Keri Nucatola, the lottery department’s director of communications, hailed the changes as improvements for players. “While Florida Lotto is an established brand with a loyal player base, the game has had very few changes over its 30+ year history. The game was in need of a refresh to give players new and more ways to win, bigger prizes, and better odds,” the statement said.
But William Price isn’t buying that. He noticed immediately that prize amounts declined for non-jackpot, partial-match payouts for players spending $2 now compared to those who previously bought a $1 ticket and spent another $1 for what used to be called the “Xtra” option.
Before the price increase, it worked like this: You spent $1 for the machine at your favorite retail store to print a basic Lotto ticket. After the drawing, if you matched three of five numbers, you’d win $5. If you hit four numbers, you’d win $70. If you hit five numbers, you’d win $5,000.
If you spent the additional $1 for the “Xtra” option, that ticket would be imprinted with a multiplier of 2X, 3X, 4X or 5X, chosen by the machine. A 2X multiplier would turn that $5,000 into $10,000. A 3X multiplier would turn that $5,000 into $15,000 and so on.
If you hit four of the six numbers, the 2X multiplier would turn that $70 prize into $140, while the 3X multiplier would turn it into $210.
Any of the multipliers would turn the prize for hitting three numbers from $5 into $25.
Lotto machines were programmed to generate 2X multipliers most commonly, while 5X multipliers were rarest.
Now, a player spending that same $2 for a ticket will automatically get a multiplier. The “Xtra” option is now standard.
But the prize amounts that get multiplied were decreased, resulting in lower multiplied payouts.
That $15,000 prize for hitting five numbers with a 3X multiplier is now $9,000. The $140 prize for hitting four numbers with a 2X multiplier is now $100.
Even the minimum $25 prize for hitting three numbers with any multiplier is now gone. Hitting three numbers with a 2X multiplier now pays just $10. You’ll need a 5X multiplier to get that same $25 now. Price said he used to win $25 every few months. Those days are gone. he said.
Despite the lottery’s statement about better odds, a player’s odds of hitting any of the number combinations remain unchanged because those are baked in mathematically. Players still have the same 1 in 23 million chance to hit six numbers. Odds of hitting five numbers are still 1 in 81,410. Odds of hitting four numbers are still 1 in 1,416.
“They tout that it’s better odds,” Price said. “How does that come out to better odds?”
Still, the new $2 format adds a new 10X multiplier. And players get an option to spend a third dollar for what’s called a “Double Play” drawing. That means the six numbers that turned out to be losers in the main Lotto drawing are entered again into a second chance drawing for a $250,000 jackpot. Multiplier prizes for matching three to five numbers are slightly higher than for the main Lotto drawing.
Yet players must spend three times the old ticket price to have that second chance to win.
On the Florida Lottery’s social media pages, players complained that during the first weekend of the price increase, store clerks were automatically charging $3 a ticket and failing to ask whether customers wanted to spend the third dollar. They figured that would subside once stores become more accustomed to the changes.
Sharon Sharp was one of the players surprised last weekend when her store clerk charged $30, automatically including the Double Play option, for the same 10 tickets she bought the week before for $10. She paid it without complaint because she didn’t want to hold up the other customers in line, she said.
The Florida Lottery says it doubled the price of its twice-weekly Lotto drawing to give players better odds and more chances to win. Players say that's a bunch of malarkey.
Florida Lotto Double Play
Double Play is an add-on option for Florida Lotto tickets – for an extra $1, players can win up to $250,000 cash. Double Play has its own separate draw following the Lotto draw every Wednesday and Saturday night at 11:15 PM EST. To win the top prize, match all six numbers drawn.
How to Play
The Double Play add-on costs $1 in addition to the $2 per play for the Lotto base game. Double Play is not available as a standalone game; it can only be played as an add-on to your FL Lotto ticket.
Be sure to get your tickets before sales close at 10:40 pm on draw nights.
Players do not need to choose any Double Play numbers – the draw uses the same six numbers from 1 to 53 as the Lotto ticket.
Tickets with the Double Play option are also eligible to win all the main Lotto prizes, including the $1 million starting jackpot that keeps rolling until someone wins it.
All Lotto tickets come with a multiplier number that increases the value of any non-jackpot prizes won in the main Lotto game and Double Play by 2, 3, 4, 5 or 10 times!
Lotto also offers another exciting add-on for an extra $1 – with EZmatch, you could score an instant cash win of up to $500.
Check your tickets following the draw to see if you’ve won. Match all six Double Play numbers to win the top prize of $250,000.
Double Play Prizes and Odds of Winning
Below you’ll find all the Double Play prizes and the chances of winning on each tier. The overall odds of winning a Double Play prize are 1 in 7.61. All prizes are set amounts.
Match all six numbers to win the $250,000 grand prize. If you match three, four, or five numbers, you win a cash prize that is automatically increased by the multiplier number shown on the ticket. Match two numbers and win a free Lotto with Double Play Quick Pick ticket for the next draw.
Double Play is a Florida Lotto ticket add-on with its own draw held after the Lotto draw on Wednesday and Saturday. Double Play offers players cash prizes of up to $250,000 – match all six numbers to win the grand prize. Find out how to play, draw times, prizes and odds for this exciting FL Lottery option.