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The Florida Lotto

Updated on November 13, 2010

Florida Lotto

The Florida Lotto is slightly different from the Belgian Lotto.

It has fifty-three numbers to chose from, and each series of six numbers costs one $.

The statistical probability to come up with the correct six numbers is one in 22,957,480, or roughly about three times less chance than being struck by lightning, walking down the road...

For every dollar received 50% is paid out, 39% goes to the Department of Education, 5.5% goes to the Lottery retailers, 2.1% goes to the ticket sellers, 1.6% goes to publicity and 1.8% goes to operating costs.

Belgian Lotto
Belgian Lotto

Belgian Lotto

The Belgian Lotto has forty-two numbers to chose from, and each series costs one Euro.

The statistical probability to come up with the correct six numbers is one in 5.245.786.

The destination of the amounts received is somewhat murky (...), and the Belgian Parliament decides unilaterally how the profits are spent.

Florida Lotto
Florida Lotto


If a winner has six correct numbers, the IRS immediately grabs 25 % (a US citizen with an SSN) to 28 % (a US citizen without SSN), or 30% (a foreigner) off the prize.

Then the winner has to make a choice . Either he wants an immediate payout and will get about 63% of the balance, or he gets paid 1/30th of this balance, every year for thirty years .

According to law, the reason for this is that the Lotto administration has to invest the prize for thirty years in government values .

The advertized total of the prize is therefore made up of the pot, plus 30 years of (a ridiculously low ...) interest.

It's easy to figure out that the big winner is always the government ...

Another major difference with European Lotteries is that in Europe, the winner receives the whole wad of the advertized pot immediately , in full, and without any deductions !  

A Practical Example

Let's assume a prize pot of 15 million dollars.

The IRS immediately scoops up $ 4.2 M in taxes, which leaves $ 10.8 million.

If the winner chooses to pocket the whole pot immediately, he gets about 63% or some 6.8 million dollars of the initial fifteen million...

If however he prefers to receive monthly payments, he gets (10.8/30 or) 360,000 $ per year for the next thirty years.

Though this amount is tax free, he has to specify it on his income taxes. In the event of his death, the payments simply continue to his heirs.


And oh yes, the lottery does not guarantee any anonymity, on the contrary ! The law requires them to publicly name the winner, and the city where he lives.

They won't actually publish his address and phone number, but of course anybody can easily fish that out of the phone book, usually with dire consequences for "the happy winner"..

The origin of Lotto

Ancient Chinese Lotto
Ancient Chinese Lotto


Keno is a variant of Bingo , and actually the forerunner of Lotto .

This game originated in China , under Emperor Cheung Leung, around 200 BC.

The Chinese emperor's army had been defeated, once again. Actually, the Chinese never managed to win a single battle, but afterwards, they always absorbed their occupiers with their massive population...

Anyway, the emperor sought additional revenue , to replenish the state's coffers. He invented the form with 120 Chinese characters, on which one could cross up to ten characters.

The player paid according to his number of crosses, and if the correct numbers were drawn, he could win a considerable amount of money.

The White Pigeon Game

History reports that Cheung Leung was so successful with his Keno, that he not only managed to crank up his army, but could also pay for a large part of his Chinese Great Wall !

To publish the results of the draw throughout this enormous country, they were circulated by postal pigeons. Which could explain the alternate name of the game, "the White Pigeon game".

Made in China...

In the 1800's, Chinese workers brought the game to America, while working on the American railroads.

It became a hit in the US as well, and eventually the Chinese characters were replaced by numbers, their number was reduced to 80, and the player was allowed to cross up to 20 digits.

So our modern Lotto is no more than a variation on a Chinese game, that is more than two thousand years old !


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