The South Carolina Education Lottery offers dozens of ways to scratch off and win and buy the right card and you could win first prize cash ranging up to a quarter million dollars.
That is, if someone hasn't already claimed the top prize. One card for the $30,000 cash bonus game for instance, was still on sale Tuesday, even though someone has already won the $30,000 jackpot.
Scratch off games have varying lifespans with some as long as a couple of years or only a few months.
The Lottery Commission stopped sales on the Carolina Crossword and Lucky Times Four. Lottery spokeswoman Tara Robertson says someone won the $4000 jackpot with Lucky Times Four, but the lottery doesn't pull every game when the top prize is gone, "We do the best that we can, getting that information out. We have different venues. And I think the disclaimer on the ticket says it all, it says 'Win up to.' So there is a possibility that when you play, you may not win the top prize."
Retailers like Linda Foster get regular updates when the games are terminated, but they don't always know whether they're selling chances for a prize that really doesn't exist, "I never know, I mean when they win the bonus. Even when they stop some of them, I mean I don't know if they won it or not, but I assume they have."
Robertson says most buyers understand their cards might be good for lesser prizes at best, "Some of the focus groups that we've had, players have told us that they are playing for that mid-tier prize because they know the top prize, the odds of winning is against them."
Her advice for scratch card players is check for updates in stores or on the education lottery website.