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Won $600 in Play 4? Better hit the road

Published May 29, 2003

TAMPA - You've just picked the four winning numbers in the Florida Lottery's Play 4 game.

What's next?

More than a simple trip to a local lottery office.

Legislation in the new state budget, approved Tuesday night, complicates the collection of winnings.

Currently, prizes up to $250,000 can be claimed at district offices - 1911 U.S. 301 N in Tampa or 4600 140th Ave. N in Clearwater.

But starting July 1, anything above $600 must be claimed in Tallahassee, either in person or by mail.

District offices plan to shift paperwork to the capital, saving about $1.6-million in costs statewide.

Some lottery procedures won't change.

Big jackpot winners - like this week's $20-million winner, Johnnie D. Saunders, 74, of Tampa - have always had to go to Tallahassee to claim prizes.

And winnings of $599 and less will still be handled by local lottery retailers.

But beware, the lottery's Web site carries a warning for the mail-in method: "The risk of mailing tickets remains with the player."

[Last modified May 29, 2003, 12:32:55]

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