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Top 10 luckiest counties in Florida when it comes to winning the lottery

The odds of winning the Mega Millions jackpot are 1 in more than 302 million. You have a better chance at all these other extraordinary things.

A customer shows her purchased Powerball tickets for Wednesday’s drawing, Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2017, in Hialeah. (Photo: Alan Diaz, AP)

Playing the lottery is a gamble with crushing odds: one in 292 million to be specific.

But here we are, yet again, with a Powerball jackpot that is reigniting interest in the precarious game. Saturday’s $550 million grand prize is too much for many to ignore.

“We play when it is one of the big ones, lotto, just a couple dollars, then we dream overnight and then wake up to reality in the morning,” said Lisa Mosier of Titusville.

The Powerball drawing is at 10:59 p.m. Saturday. The cut-off time for purchasing tickets is 59 minutes before Powerball drawing.

Pick a game, any game, and there are thousands — no millions — of people who spend their hard-earned dollars on a $2 piece of a paper that more often than not becomes a disappointment.

Lotto players vie their lucky stars align, but could some counties be luckier than others? According to FLORIDA TODAY’s less-than-scientific calculations using return on investment, we’re in the luckiest county in the state. Second to us? Indian River County, followed by Wakulla County.

In Florida, the big games are Fantasy 5, Florida Lotto, and, of course, the Powerball. And the Sunshine State knows how to dream big.

As of June, wishful thinkers across Florida have poured more than $4.2 million into lottery tickets for these games. In 2016, the money spent on tickets was more than $1.1 billion. In 2015, it was around $938 million. That’s a lot of dreaming.

But in some very rare cases, there was a return on investment.

Zero in on Brevard County. If you take the amount spent on tickets and compare it to the amount won on winning tickets, you can see just how much “luck” exists. For the first half of 2017, Brevard had a -70 percent return on Fantasy 5 tickets, a -96 percent return on Florida Lotto tickets and a -98 percent return on Powerball tickets. Yes, those negative numbers are correct. The return is really that bad.

Of course, almost exactly two years ago now, 2016 was Brevard’s luckiest year and marked one of the view instances a county saw a positive return: a Melbourne Beach couple walked away with $327.8 million — their share of a record-high $1.58 billion Powerball jackpot. That year alone, Brevard saw a -83 percent return on Fantasy 5 tickets, -77 percent return on lotto and a whopping 1,754 percent return on Powerball. You can see where things get skewed based on one big win. 2015’s figures are similar to 2017’s returns.

So with this methodology, we ranked the counties with figures compiled by the Florida Lottery. Of course, this isn’t groundbreaking math, and some statisticians argue there are many other factors that determine “luck.” Population was not a factor in our study, just money out and money in.

The counties were compared based on return on investment for the past three years and for each game (Fantasy 5, Florida Lotto and Powerball). We took those figures and averaged them to determine the overall rank.

Brevard County turned out to be the “luckiest” county in the state, so run with that if you please this weekend. And sorry Leon County, you aren’t any luckier because you’re closer to the Florida Lottery headquarters. Leon rang it at No. 27 in our rankings.

The 10 luckiest counties in Florida

1. Brevard County

Average return over the past three years: 59 percent (the only positive figure we calculated)

2. Indian River County

Average return: -48 percent return

3. Wakulla

Average return: -52.3 percent

4. Pinellas

Average return: -58 percent

5. Glades

Average return: -63 percent

6. St. Johns

Average return: -68 percent

7. Lake

Average return: -71 percent

8. Polk

Average return: -76 percent

9. Pasco

Average return: -77 percent

10. Duval

Average return: -79 percent

Didn’t see your county? Check out the complete list »

Of course, it’s important to keep things in check with the lotto.

Despite how “lucky” a county is ranked, the odds remain the same. The odds of winning the top prize for Fantasy 5 are 1 in 376,992, Florida Lotto odds are 1 in 22,957,480 and Powerball odds are 1 in 292,201,338. Mega Millions is 1 in more than 302.5 million.

“I usually have the same quote whenever people ask me about the lotto: ‘The lotto is a tax for people who are bad at math,'” said Kyle Johnston a Melbourne astrophysicist.

For him, it’s not worth it.

“Personally, if I wanted to make money on an investment I’d stick with stocks, bonds, etcetera. If you wanted to be risky, look into micro-venture capital, at least you have something to show for your risk,” he said. “If I wanted entertainment, I’d go see a movie or get a Disney pass. And if I wanted to gamble, I’d go to Vegas and play the tables. At least then I might get a free drink and I can always go to a show afterward.”

For Samantha Miller who regularly plays various lotto games, she’s a little more optimistic, but keeps weekly spending to about $18 a week.

“We play Lotto, Fantasy 5, Powerball, and scratch-off once a week,” said the Brevard County resident. “We usually come out even. Most likely, we win on the scratch-off games or EZ play on Fantasy 5.”

The most she has won is $100, she said, but “you never know if it’s going to be your lucky day. It only takes one time.”

Lotto players vie their lucky stars align, but could some counties be luckier than others?

2 lucky winners hit $92,453 Florida Fantasy 5 jackpot in Tuesday night’s drawing

Besides the grand prize awarded on Tuesday, November 24th, 2020, Florida Fantasy 5 produced more pleased winners walked away with big pile of cash. There were 295 lucky tickets matched Match 4-of-5 winning numbers, which won the 2nd prize. 295 lucky winning ticket(s) would win $101 cash. In the past 12 months, the second prize paid between $43 and $555 with an average payout in the amount of $190.

Other prizes won Tuesday evening included 8766 tickets that matched Match 3-of-5 winning numbers. The 8766 lucky winning ticket(s) which matched Match 3-of-5 numbers would win $10 cash. In the past 12 months, the third prize paid the lowest $7 and highest $27 with an average payout in the amount of $11.

Florida Fantasy 5 drawings occur daily at 11:15 PM Eastern Time. To play Florida Fantasy 5, pick 5 numbers from a set of 36 numbers. The overall chances of winning is about 1 to 7.5. The odds of matching all 5 Florida Fantasy 5 numbers are 1 to 376,992. Florida Fantasy 5 is a pari-mutuel game. The actual prize amounts vary with the total sales and the number of winners in each of the prize category. All FL Fantasy 5 prizes are paid in one cash payment.

With 5 different prize levels, there were 182,422 tickets sold across Florida in the Tuesday, November 24th, 2020 drawing. Below is a detailed breakdown of the Florida Fantasy 5 payout for the Tuesday night’s drawing:

  • 2 ticket(s) matched Match 5-of-5 and won $92,453 each. In the past year, winning tickets hit Match 5-of-5 in Florida Fantasy 5 drawing, won from $19,098 to $224,730, with an average of $113,802 prize payout.
  • 295 ticket(s) matched Match 4-of-5 and won $101 each. In the past 1 year, tickets of this prize level in Florida Fantasy 5 drawing, won at least $43 to max $555. The average prize payout of this prize level was $190.
  • 8766 ticket(s) matched Match 3-of-5 and won $10 each. In the past 1 year, winning tickets of this prize level in the drawing of Florida Fantasy 5, won from $7 to $27, with an average of $11 prize payout.

Tuesday, November 24th, 2020 Florida Florida Fantasy 5 news and payout, winning numbers, next jackpot. ]]>