From helping out their children to buying a flatboat, Louisiana Lottery winners expressed big plans for the more than$7.3 million in prizes won during drawings held in December. The Lottery also reported more than$9.5 million in scratch-off prizes claimed in December.

Last month's draw-style game winnings included two Powerball prizes of $1 million, five Powerball prizes of $10,000, two Mega Millions prizes of $250,000, a Mega Millions prize of $40,000, three Mega Millions prizes of $10,000 and an Easy 5 jackpot prize of $121,751.  Lotto winning tickets totaled $617,069. Pick 3 winning tickets totaled $1,650,250 and Pick 4 winning tickets totaled $1,132,300.

Easy 5 prizes totaled $266,941 with an additional $155,007 won in ezmatch prizes. For an additional $1, players can add ezmatch to their Easy 5 ticket for the chance to win up to $250 instantly. 

"More than 20,000 Power Play purchasers won a bonus total of $164,181 in addition to their regular Powerball prize," Lottery President Rose Hudson said, "and nearly 8,000 Megaplier purchasers won a bonus total of $116,454." 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. 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 December were $7,348,585. Lottery draw-style game players have 180 days from the date of the drawing to claim the winnings from those tickets.

In addition to $9,525,099 in scratch-off cash prizes paid during December, players also claimed $1,532,597 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.   

"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 for the Lottery's draw-style games 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.