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Florida, the price of your hopes and dreams just doubled

For more than 30 years, it cost a dollar for anyone to buy a Florida Lotto ticket. Last week, the price went up to $2.

The cost of a daydream — quitting your job, sending the kids to the finest schools, buying that beachfront bungalow — just went up.

For more than three decades, a Florida Lotto ticket — one of the first games offered when the state got the lottery back in 1988 — cost one dollar. Whether a customer gambled on the kids' birth dates or went with a quick-pick ticket to choose six hopefully lucky numbers, the price for what’s been called “Florida’s original jackpot game” has been a buck.

Even as pricier ventures came on board — Powerball, Mega Millions, Cash4Life and scratch-off tickets that can cost $10, $20, even $30 — the price of a Lotto ticket stayed the same.

Last week, that doubled. Cashiers taking customers' play slips at grocery store lottery lines and convenience store counters could be heard saying, “You know it’s $2 now, right?"

Lottery officials say the doubled price comes with bigger prizes and better odds. A random multiplier number on each ticket increases the cash prize by two, three, four, five or ten times if the ticket wins less than the jackpot. And matching two numbers out of six wins a free ticket.

“While FLORIDA LOTTO is an established brand with a loyal player base, the game has had very few changes over its 30+ year history,” Florida Lottery communications manager Meredyth Hope Norrman told the Tampa Bay Times in an email. “We felt the game was in need of a refresh to give players new and more ways to win, bigger prizes, and better odds.”

For players who prefer that $1 price point, the Florida Lottery still sells Fantasy Five and other tickets as well as the humble $1 scratch-off.

Some Lotto trivia: The first Florida Lotto drawing in 1988 had a $2 million jackpot that rolled over. Florida Lotto has meant 1,061 millionaire winners, according to lottery statistics.

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