TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -

The Florida Lottery says it's wrapping up the most financially successful year in its 24-year history.

The state-created lottery boosted its sales to $4.45 billion for the past year, which is an increase of more than $440 million over the previous fiscal year.

A key to the increased sales was the popularity of scratch-off tickets. Lottery officials this past year introduced nearly 50-new scratch off games. The state also supported increased ticket prices and jackpots for Powerball, the multi-state lottery game.

The previous peak for the Florida Lottery was $4.2 billion back in 2008 but then sales dropped during the recession.

State officials estimate that the increased sales will result in $1.31 billion going to schools and to pay for programs such as the state's Bright Futures scholarship.