The Florida Lottery just got a significant influx of new funding from the state government.
Last Friday, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed off on the budget for the 2022-23 fiscal year. The financial plan, which DeSantis dubbed the Freedom First Budget, gave the lottery an additional $4.49 million for operational upgrades.
The new budget will take effect on July 1. Florida’s fiscal year begins at the start of July and ends at the end of June the following year. Therefore, the 2021-2022 budget is still in effect for the next several weeks.
New funding will mostly go towards a new payout system
The Florida Lottery will use $4 million of the funds to implement a new prize payment system. The organization said that the current system is “aging” and the new one will help streamline the payment process.
The remaining $486,666 will be used to raise the salaries of employees in certain markets. The money will be divvied up between district offices in Tampa, Fort Myers, West Palm Beach and Miami.
Officials believe the pay additive will help attract and retain better employees in those markets. Previously, they had problems retaining quality employees in those cities.
Florida Lottery Secretary John F. Davis said he was grateful for the additional money.
“I appreciate the continued support Governor DeSantis and the Legislature have for the Lottery and its mission to create brighter futures for Florida’s students and families,” said Davis. “The items included in the 2022-2023 budget will help to improve the core business operations and further strengthen the Lottery’s commitment to education.”
Last year’s budget saw a larger increase to Florida Lottery
The $4.49 million represents about a 2.2% increase in the current lottery budget. The state allotted $198.1 million to fund the department’s 418 positions during the 2021-22 fiscal year.
The new money brings the total funding for the next 12 months to $202.59 million.
But the lottery received a larger gross increase in funding last year when DeSantis signed the current budget.
Last year, the lottery received an additional $10.6 million in the budget. Here’s how the money was spent:
- $5.4 million: Increase to instant ticket purchases
- $4.3 million: Increase to gaming system contract
- $300,000: Increase in contracted services for biannual security audit
- $500,000: Enhancement to information technology, security and support
- $100,000: Lease increases
Lottery earnings fund state education
The department is one of the largest contributors to the state’s public education system. For every $1 appropriated to the Florida Lottery, it results in $10 for Florida schools.
The Lottery already transferred more than $2 billion to the Educational Enhancement Trust Fund this fiscal year. It marked the 20th consecutive year that the lottery generated at least $1 billion for Florida’s students and schools.
It also sent more than $41 billion to the Bright Futures Scholarship Program. The program is funded exclusively by the Florida Lottery and offers four different types of scholarships for qualified Florida students.
More than 917,000 Florida students have gone to college courtesy of the Bright Futures program.
Since its inception in 1988, the Florida Lottery paid more than $80.5 billion in prize money and made more than 3,500 people millionaires.