By Kate Quesada

A Brandon resident’s lottery winning dreams came true last month when she purchased a scratch-off ticket at a local Publix store.

According to The Florida Lottery, Deborah Harvey of Brandon, purchased a Gold Rush Doubler Scratch-Off game ticket at the Valrico Publix, located at 3461 Lithia Pinecrest Rd. The ticket gave her a $1 million prize which she chose to receive as a one-time, lump-sum payment of $745,000.

As commission for selling the winning ticket, Publix received a $2,000 bonus.

Harvey purchased the ticket for $20. The Gold Rush Doubler features six top prizes of $5 million, 30 prizes of $1 million and more than $752 million in total cash prizes. According to lottery representatives, the game offers more than 16.8 million winning tickets and overall odds of winning one-in-2.99, but the odds of winning the $1 million are 1-in-1,680,000.

Scratch-off games are an important part of the lottery’s portfolio of games, making up approximately 65 percent of ticket sales and generating more than $734 million for the Educational Enhancement Trust Fund (EETF) in fiscal year 2015-16. According to the Florida Lottery Website, scratch-off tickets with $1 million prizes became available for purchase in 1988 and since then, 565 people have become millionaires from playing the games.

The Florida Lottery is responsible for contributing more than $31 billion to education and sending more than 750,000 students to college through the Bright Futures Scholarship Program. The Florida Lottery reinvests 98 percent of its revenue back into Florida’s economy through prize payouts, commissions to more than 13,000 Florida retailers and transfers to education. Since 1988, Florida Lottery games have paid more than $52.4 billion in prizes and made more than 1,900 people millionaires.

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Kate Quesada
Assignment Editor Kate Quesada started working at the Osprey Observer in 2004 after graduating from the University of South Florida with a masters degree in Mass Communications. Since then, she has held various positions at the paper and has been working as the assignment editor since January 2020. She lives in Lithia with her husband Mike and sons Dylan and Max and stays active in the community on school PTA boards and volunteering with local organizations.