For the past few months, News4Jax has been getting a steady stream of news releases from the Florida Lottery. Included in the list of winners are multiple people from Jacksonville, along with others from St. Johns and Flagler counties.
A number of the winners scored big with the Fastest Road to $1,000,000 scratch-off game, which costs $30 a ticket, and the $5,000,000 Gold Rush Classic game, which costs $20 a ticket.
It’s unclear if the coronavirus pandemic has anything to do with this, but for the 2019-20 timeframe, more than half of the winning tickets worth $600 or more have been claimed in 2020, which isn’t even over yet. So we can either venture the guess that more people are buying tickets or waited until now to cash them in.
As far as which stores sell the most winners, the Shell station at the intersection of Edgewood Avenue and Avenue B in Northwest Jacksonville has led the region with the most high-payout winners.
News4Jax stopped by that Shell station and spoke with the manager, Kevin Patel, who said: “We sell the scratch-off tickets -- eight or 10,000 every day.” Patel added the store sells a lot of tickets for these three games: $500 Madness, 50X the Cash and 200X the Cash.
Beyond this historically lucky spot, there are some other spots that pay out a lot winners. Grand Central Station on Merrill Road has sold 55 winners in 2020. One Publix in Palm Coast has sold 47. There’s also a lucky region in the Blanding Boulevard-Argyle area -- both Publix stores on Blanding Boulevard in Orange Park sell a lot of winners, as does the one on Argyle Forest Boulevard.
News4Jax also looked at some games that seem to have the most number of winners and found a new game -- Fastest Road to $1,000,000, which is a $30 ticket -- has been paying out the most winners of $600 and up during 2020.
It seems this game really has been a fast road to $1 million. News4Jax looked at people who cashed in a scratch-off ticket bought in Northeast Florida for at least $790,000 -- that’s the lump sum amount for a $1 million prize. In all of 2019, there were eight big winners like this. But this new game alone has led to seven of these big paydays in the first 8 ½ months of 2020 alone.
But not everyone who News4Jax spoke with is comfortable with the higher-priced tickets.
“I usually get the $1 one. The $1 ones I buy, I usually get maybe 30, 40, maybe 80,” said one woman.
And not everyone is big on scratch-offs.
“Because that’s for grandmas," said Mike Reece. “Nobody my age likes messing with that stuff unless you like 50 or 60 years old.”
When asked about the recent string of success in Northeast Florida, the Florida Lottery told News4Jax it didn’t have a spokesperson available but did offer this statement on the benefits of the state Lottery to education in Florida:
“Scratch-Off games are an important part of the Lottery’s portfolio of games, comprising approximately 75 percent of ticket sales, and generating more than $1 billion for the Educational Enhancement Trust Fund (EETF) in fiscal year 2019-20.”