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Updated: Lottery: South Florida on a hot streak

 Well, maybe this is the year for a slew of lottery wins in South Florida. We're off to quite a hot streak.

 Sonya Ramsey, 45, of Lauderhill, claimed a $500,000 prize in the $5 Monopoly Scratch-Off game at Florida Lottery Headquarters in Tallahassee, lottery officials reported Tuesday. Ramsey bought her ticket from Food Town Center, 1960 Opa Locka Blvd., Opa Locka.

And two Fantasy 5 winners from the same story cashed in for $95,894 after winning Sunday at a 7-Eleven on Brickell Avenue in Miami. That's James Mills and Alphonso Martin if you can't tell by the photo.

 Last week Greenacres was the place to be for Nancy Vinniti, 62, who claimed a $1 million prize in the 100X The Cash Scratch-Off game last week, buying her ticket at 4849 S. Military Trail. But she wasn't even the biggest South Florida winner. That was Alfonso Zavala, 68, who hit for $2 million on the Jan. 21 Mega Money, buying his ticket at Publix, 15771 SW 152nd St. in Miami.

 And, oh, there was a Mega Money winner, too, but it was a mere $500,000: Sofia Diaz, 63, of Miami, chose to receive her jackpot prize as a lump-sum payment of $191,072.93. She bought her ticket at Fiesta Supermarket, 1385 NW 27th Ave., in Miami.

 And all that combines with the story of a Tamarac Sunoco selling its second Florida Lotto winner in three years on Jan. 19. It's worth $12 million, and is the first Florida Lotto win in Broward or Palm Beach county since a woman hit at a Davie Publix in September 2012. The Vic's Sunoco winner has yet to come forward.

 The same store, but then called University Sunoco, also sold a $6 million winner (later claimed by the Herrera Family Trust) on Jan. 7, 2012.

 Powerball has not had a Florida winner since 2012 and no South Florida winner since 2010. Mega Millions just started here in May and has yet to yield a Florida winner. But you can feel the momentum turning this way...

 “One hundred Florida Lottery players won prizes of $1 million or more in 2013,” said Florida Lottery Secretary Cynthia O’Connell. “We promised players that the Lottery would offer bigger, better games and create more winning moments, and we delivered. Our players are winning and so is education, as we continue to generate revenue for the benefit of Florida’s students and schools.”

The breakdown last year: 49 Powerball, 28 scratch-off, 10 Mega Money, 7 Florida Lotto and 6 Mega Millions across Florida.

Can we document that we're on a hot streak, now that we have at least three in South Florida in just one month? Well, this is a pretty good piece of explanation...

“Lottery players in south Florida represent a large portion of our player base, as approximately 30 percent of ticket sales come from Palm Beach, Broward, and Miami-Dade counties,” O’Connell said. “For a long time, south Florida Lottery players almost exclusively played Terminal games, or draw games (about 80 percent of dollars spent here). In more recent years, the Lottery has worked to broaden the appeal of our Scratch-Off games, particularly with South Florida players (and it has moved to more like 50-50). As a result, we are seeing more winners, increased sales for south Florida businesses and more revenue for the state’s education system.”


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