From making home repairs to retiring a little early, Louisiana Lottery players had big plans for the nearly $12 million in scratch-off prizes claimed in March. The Lottery also reported nearly $8.2 million in prizes won during drawings held in March.

In addition to $11,869,769 in scratch-off cash prizes paid during March, players also claimed $1,847,624 worth of free-ticket prizes. According to Lottery policy, scratch-off games are closed when all top prizes are claimed, and scratch-off players have 90 days from the official game closure date to redeem a winning ticket.    

March's draw-style game winnings included a $1 million "Match 5" Powerball prize, a $40,000 Powerball with Power Play prize and 15 $10,000 Powerball prizes. There was also a $248,719 Easy 5 jackpot prize, a $250,000 Mega Millions "Match 5" prize, and two Mega Millions with Megaplier prizes that averaged $35,000 each.  Lotto winning tickets totaled $732,483. Pick 3 winning tickets totaled $2,375,510 and Pick 4 winning tickets totaled $1,475,400.

Easy 5 prizes totaled $435,259 with an additional $177,624 won in ezmatch prizes, an instant-win option available for an additional $1.  

"More than 32,000 Power Play purchasers won a bonus total of $293,875 in addition to their regular Powerball prize," Lottery President Rose Hudson said, "and more than 9,000 Megaplier purchasers won a bonus total of $153,176." The Power Play option offers Powerball ticket purchasers the chance to increase nonjackpot-related prizes to a set amount, which ranges from $12 for matching just the red Powerball number to $2 million for matching all five white-ball numbers when they purchase Power Play for an additional $1. The $1 Megaplier add-on option multiplies nonjackpot Mega Millions prizes by a multiplier number of 2, 3 or 4 selected during the drawing.

In total, draw-style game winnings from drawings held in March were $8,194,783. Lottery draw-style game players have 180 days from the date of the drawing to claim the winnings from those tickets.

"We encourage players to sign the back of their tickets immediately after purchasing and to check them promptly after the drawing. Even if a ticket does not win the jackpot, it could have won another prize," Hudson added.

While actual game performance and the amount of prizes claimed will vary from month to month, the Lottery allocates at least 50 percent of sales to fund prizes. At least 35 percent of sales is transferred to the state treasury for the Minimum Foundation Program that funds K-12 public education in Louisiana. Retailers are paid at least 5 percent in commission, and the Lottery retains less than 10 percent of sales to operate.

A list of current scratch-off games, prizes remaining and claim deadlines can be found on its website.

Hudson reminded ticket purchasers to play responsibly, encouraging anyone who has a gambling problem, or friends and family of anyone with a gambling problem, to call toll-free 1-877-770-7867 for help.  Ticket purchasers must be at least 21 years of age.