Cash 3, Lotto Games Start Amid Confusion
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) _ The Florida lottery’s first computerized numbers game produced 859 winners Friday night, and that didn’t include the St. Petersburg Times, which published a photo of a winning ticket hours before the contest.
A photograph at the top of the front page of Friday morning’s paper showed the numbers 8-0-6, which proved to be the winning combination in the first Cash 3 contest. The photo showed a sample ticket sent to the paper a month ago.
″This was entirely coincidental,″ City Editor Jack Reed said. ″It doesn’t seem like that should need to be said, but we’ve gotten so many calls.″
The Cash 3 winners will split a total payout of $94,090.
Sales of the Lotto and Cash 3 tickets began when Lt. Gov. Bobby Brantley purchased two Cash 3 betting slips.
But the kickoff was delayed several minutes when a computer terminal at the new lottery headquarters refused to issue Brantley’s tickets because the terminal’s password had not been entered correctly.
Across the state, 3,142 retailers were supposed to be hooked into a central computer to begin dispensing the 50-cent Cash 3 and $1 Lotto tickets.
Several reported their machines were not working or said they could not get through on a hotline set up by Control Data Corp., which is operating the on- line computer system.
By 7:30 p.m., $616,543 had been wagered on Cash 3 and $345,377 on the Lotto game.
″Most on-line games start out slow and then grow,″ lottery Secretary Rebecca Paul said. She predicted combined Lotto and Cash 3 sales would surpass $10 million in the first eight days of sales, and $1 billion in the first year.
Thirty-five percent of all lottery revenue is earmarked for public education.
Twenty-eight states, including Florida, and the District of Columbia have legalized lotteries. Law enforcement officials hope the Florida games will help undermine illegal numbers rackets.
″Some of the people down here have been playing illegal numbers since they were teen-agers,″ said Lt. Norflett Harris of the Miami Police vice squad. ″But if they can find a way to play the same amount, win the same amount and do it legally, I’m reasonably sure a lot of them will switch over and play the legal game or start playing both.″
Cash 3 offers daily top prizes of $500. Players pick numbers from 000 to 999.
In the Lotto game, players pick six numbers from 1 to 49. The first winning number will be drawn May 7 when the jackpot will be at least $2 million, but could reach $4 million.