Lottery Adds to Prizes
The Florida lottery's most recent innovative idea will provide commuters with new incentive to purchase lotto tickets: free gas for life! Normally I make it a rule to avoid all forms of gambling my money; after all, I am a poor student. However, with the ever increasing price of fuel this doesn't sound like such a bad idea.
Once a week for the next two months, the second-prize winner in the latest lottery promotion, Summer Cash, will win free gasoline for life. And some people think that is a better deal than the game’s first prize, a quarter of a million dollars.
“If gas keeps going up and up — and I expect it will — then I’d rather have free gas for life,” said Robert Acosta, who spends about $50 a week on fuel for his four-cylinder Toyota Scion and bought a $5 Summer Cash ticket in anticipation of the first drawing, this Wednesday.
Not that a winner’s right to free gasoline is unlimited. Rather, each winner will be awarded 26 prepaid gas cards, each worth $100, every year until death. Were the 44-year-old Mr. Acosta to win, and live to be twice his current age, the total payout to him in free gasoline would be $114,400. That is far short of the first prize, particularly since virtually all the gas prize would be paid in future dollars.
But with a gallon of unleaded regular in South Florida costing an average of about $4.30, some players are ready to forgo the math.
“Gas has become more precious than cash now,” Bernard Feldman said.
Florida joins states including Georgia, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Washington that have started giving away gasoline as a lottery prize. Florida decided to do so after 90 percent of regular lottery players, responding to a poll in which a year’s home mortgage payments were among the other choices, said the prize they would most prefer was free fill-ups.