Saturday, April 15, 2006

Florida's Other Lottery

"Blue Liquor Store"
Courtesy of Chris Cook, southwestern artist

Everybody's rushing out today to throw away their money on the 14th largest lottery in Florida history. Meanwhile, a lesser-known Other Florida Lottery closed last night in Santa Rosa County.

We're speaking of the First Ever Santa Rosa County Liquor License Lottery in history. As of yesterday morning, 1,349 people, partnerships, and corporations had applied for 17 liquor store licenses to be awarded in a "double random drawing." According to the PNJ, "Most of the applicants for 17 'quota' licenses for stand-alone bars and/or package stores are from Santa Rosa, Escambia or Okaloosa counties." Some, however, have come in from as far away as Hawaii.

Friendly postal officials tell us quite a few more local applications went into the mail before last night's deadline. You can see the list as it grows right here, courtesy of the Florida Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco.

The $100 application fee is steep and the associated expenses even higher:
"Licenses cost $10,750 plus an annual fee of $1,820 for a bar and $1,365 for a liquor store. A $23,300 penalty will be assessed if the license is sold within three years."
Still, as we perused the list of early applicants we recognized a number of retired friends, neighbors, ex-military officers, ne'er-do-wells, and other locals you wouldn't expect to be interested. Why?

Because the real game is to win the license lottery and then sell it for big bucks to someone who really wants to run a liquor store. Someone who's young, eager, and has the requisite attitude. Someone, perhaps, like this --

Sure, it's not $64 million. But 17 licenses will win, no matter what. Even if four times as many applicants wind up buying into the Other Lottery, the odds are a great deal better than winning tonight's record Florida Lotto.

According to the Florida Lottery Commission, every $1 lotto ticket you buy today has a one-in-22,957,480 chance of winning. That's only slightly worse than your odds of dying from a bite by a nonvenomous insect or other arthropod.

All in all, we'd rather win the liquor store lottery.


Anonymous said...

anyone have a link for an updated list of Santa Rosa County liquor license applicants? the link here doesn't seem to be recent...??

Anonymous said...

ed said...
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