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How does scratch off lottery work?

Topic closed. 32 replies. Last post 4 years ago by GiveFive.

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NY
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Posted: January 10, 2011, 8:14 pm - IP Logged

In scratch off lottery there is no start and end date. Lottery prints out X number of tickets and distributes them.  Winning ticket is pre-printed. So let's say if someone gets the jackpot ticket, how do we know the winning ticket is gone? so if you are playing for the top prize of 1 million, 2 million or 3 million, no point in buying a ticket if the top prize/s are already gone. unlike in jackpot games where there is start and end time and when the time ends, the new game begins and everybody starts from the scratch. Also you know if jackpot is gone or not before playing it.

 

or is scratch off lotteries is like a perpetual game? they embed winning tickets at randome  and you keep trying your luck? and just because someone has just won the jackpot have no bearing on next winning ticket? like them don't pace'em out depending upon sales etc.

 

can you someone help me clarify this confusion?

    B$Rizzle's avatar - a4leds
    The Ville, FL
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    Posted: January 11, 2011, 12:18 pm - IP Logged

    In scratch off lottery there is no start and end date. Lottery prints out X number of tickets and distributes them.  Winning ticket is pre-printed. So let's say if someone gets the jackpot ticket, how do we know the winning ticket is gone? so if you are playing for the top prize of 1 million, 2 million or 3 million, no point in buying a ticket if the top prize/s are already gone. unlike in jackpot games where there is start and end time and when the time ends, the new game begins and everybody starts from the scratch. Also you know if jackpot is gone or not before playing it.

     

    or is scratch off lotteries is like a perpetual game? they embed winning tickets at randome  and you keep trying your luck? and just because someone has just won the jackpot have no bearing on next winning ticket? like them don't pace'em out depending upon sales etc.

     

    can you someone help me clarify this confusion?

    In most states (if not all) a set # of scratch off tickets (pools) are printed and distributed throughout the state. The odds & winning prizes remaining can be found online for your state. I am certain NY has one since it is a huge Lottery state.

     

    For example, if there are 10 top prizes of $1Million, you should be able to go to NY's lottery website and see how many top prizes are remaining for a particular game. Many states unfortunately continue to sell ticket seven when there are no top prizes remaining!. It is good to keep an eye on these things so you know what you are buying.

     

    Also, many of time if a game is popular and they run through the original sets (pools) of tickets they will have "2nd runs" in which the games are printed a 2nd time and redistributed.

     

    Hope that helps

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      NY
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      Posted: January 11, 2011, 6:17 pm - IP Logged

      why would lottery tell you how many winning tickets have been sold and how many have been left? Let's say if the big prize winning ticket is sold on the 2nd day since the pool is distributed and if you make this information available people will quit buying and sales will go down. In this way lottery won't earn the revenues based on their assumptions and may go bankrupt.

        Jon D's avatar - calotterylogo
        Los Angeles, California
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        Posted: January 11, 2011, 9:11 pm - IP Logged

        In CA Lottery they do post the number of jackpots claimed in addition to the number of jackpots remaining. I see that on some other lottery sites like NY that only the remaining jackpots is posted.

        I think is good to show both, full disclosure. It shows you how far along the jackpots are. An example here is one particular scratcher game has a total of 25 $2,000,000 jackpots available. 1 has been claimed, leaving 24 left out there.

        Now the business and psychology of the scratch tickets kicks in, with the complexities of the manufacturing and distribution and marketing that are not there for regular draw/lottery games. You have to figure out where and when the biggest concentration of winners will be there. Sure, they will give some out early on, and then a slow trickle of others as the game progresses through the year. But yes, they will have to keep many towards the tail end of the game to keep people playing. Otherwise, if they gave out all the 25 jackpots in the first month, then yeah, they would lose money. On the contrary, they have the system arranged so they won't lose money, that's the whole purpose of the lottery.

          B$Rizzle's avatar - a4leds
          The Ville, FL
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          Posted: January 12, 2011, 10:17 am - IP Logged

          why would lottery tell you how many winning tickets have been sold and how many have been left? Let's say if the big prize winning ticket is sold on the 2nd day since the pool is distributed and if you make this information available people will quit buying and sales will go down. In this way lottery won't earn the revenues based on their assumptions and may go bankrupt.

          First of, I have never seen a game with only 1 top prize on a scratch-off... AND typically when they do start selling to prize winners, they have already made well over their "quota" in revenue...The lottery isnt set up to lose revenue, they are always set up to gain revenue.

           

          Listing top prizes and providing top prize info is public domain and available for anyone to request. Even though there are many players that check this info out for themselves to make determinations on which tickets to buy, there are still millions of players who dont even bother to look for this info, so the Lottery still sells tickets to those players.

            GiveFive's avatar - Lottery-026.jpg
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            Posted: January 12, 2011, 10:55 am - IP Logged

            why would lottery tell you how many winning tickets have been sold and how many have been left? Let's say if the big prize winning ticket is sold on the 2nd day since the pool is distributed and if you make this information available people will quit buying and sales will go down. In this way lottery won't earn the revenues based on their assumptions and may go bankrupt.

            If you go to The NY Lottery's Instant Games page on the NY Lottery's website, on the right hand side of the page is a green box with the words "Top Prizes Report".  Click on that green box and you will get The "Instant Cash Games Unclaimed Top Prizes" report that shows every instant scratch-off games top prize, and how many unclaimed prizes remain for that particular game.

            When all of the top prizes for any scratch off game have been claimed, the lottery pulls all remaining tickets from circulation.  Lottery Retailers must pack up all unsold tickets for that game and mail them back to The NY Lottery.

            Winning a Jackpot - unlikely but POSSIBLE!

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              Posted: January 12, 2011, 9:36 pm - IP Logged

              From the time winning jackpot ticket is sold to the time it is claimed there can be several days to several months gap. Does lottery know right away when the winning ticket is sold? if not the lottery weekly report is not going to accurately reflect the unclaimed number.

                GiveFive's avatar - Lottery-026.jpg
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                Posted: January 13, 2011, 8:13 am - IP Logged

                From the time winning jackpot ticket is sold to the time it is claimed there can be several days to several months gap. Does lottery know right away when the winning ticket is sold? if not the lottery weekly report is not going to accurately reflect the unclaimed number.

                It's impossible for The NY Lottery to know when a top prize winning scratch off ticket is sold.  They only know one was sold the day that the person who bought it claims it. 

                 You're correct, it is possible there could be several days or months between the day the ticket is sold, and the day the winner presents it for payment.  The weekly report very definitely can be inaccurate.

                Also, it will take a some time for the Lottery to inform all retailers that all top prizes have been claimed. Then it will take time for the retailers to pack up the remaining tickets and mail them back to the NY Lottery. During that time, tickets could be sold that have no chance of winning the top prize. 

                The best time to buy scratch off tickets is when a game is brand new and first goes on sale.  When a game is brand new, and tickets havent been for sale very long, you wont have to worry about whether or not all of the top prizes have been sold/claimed.

                Winning a Jackpot - unlikely but POSSIBLE!

                  B$Rizzle's avatar - a4leds
                  The Ville, FL
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                  Posted: January 14, 2011, 2:45 pm - IP Logged

                  It's impossible for The NY Lottery to know when a top prize winning scratch off ticket is sold.  They only know one was sold the day that the person who bought it claims it. 

                   You're correct, it is possible there could be several days or months between the day the ticket is sold, and the day the winner presents it for payment.  The weekly report very definitely can be inaccurate.

                  Also, it will take a some time for the Lottery to inform all retailers that all top prizes have been claimed. Then it will take time for the retailers to pack up the remaining tickets and mail them back to the NY Lottery. During that time, tickets could be sold that have no chance of winning the top prize. 

                  The best time to buy scratch off tickets is when a game is brand new and first goes on sale.  When a game is brand new, and tickets havent been for sale very long, you wont have to worry about whether or not all of the top prizes have been sold/claimed.

                  I agree, or only play games with the majority of the TOP PRIZES still remaining.

                   

                  I wouldnt play a game that only has 1 top prize remaining.

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                    NY
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                    Posted: January 14, 2011, 8:50 pm - IP Logged

                    I agree, or only play games with the majority of the TOP PRIZES still remaining.

                     

                    I wouldnt play a game that only has 1 top prize remaining.

                    Sometimes there is only one top prize.

                      Jon D's avatar - calotterylogo
                      Los Angeles, California
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                      Posted: January 14, 2011, 10:20 pm - IP Logged

                      Sometimes there is only one top prize.

                      We don't have any Scratcher games in CA with only 1 top prize.

                      Which NY lotto game is that with only 1 top prize? I'd like to see what the specifics of that one are.

                        GiveFive's avatar - Lottery-026.jpg
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                        Posted: January 15, 2011, 10:03 am - IP Logged

                        We don't have any Scratcher games in CA with only 1 top prize.

                        Which NY lotto game is that with only 1 top prize? I'd like to see what the specifics of that one are.

                        There are no NY scratch off games that first go on sale "with only 1 top prize".

                        I believe what the original poster meant to say was sometimes there is only 1 top prize remaining to be claimed.

                        In a previous post in this thread, that same poster made a good point relative to a very low number of top prizes remaining unclaimed.  If in fact there is 1 top prize unclaimed, that does not mean it has not been sold. Someone could have bought the ticket with the remaining top prize and lost it, or bought it and gave it to someone else who put it aside and never scratched it.  With either situation, people buying that particular game after the last top prize ticket has been sold can not win the top prize.

                        Winning a Jackpot - unlikely but POSSIBLE!

                          Jon D's avatar - calotterylogo
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                          Posted: January 15, 2011, 10:56 am - IP Logged

                          Yeah, just perusing the NY scratch games, looks like there are many games with very few or only 1 prize left unclaimed.

                          Seems to be a different strategy by the NY lotto compared to the CA lotto. You have many more different games with fewer big top prizes each. CA has fewer games with more big top prizes each. And they show total claimed versus unclaimed so you can track progress.

                          With NY being the biggest lotto of any state, they probably have a good idea how to run a good lottery. That means milking the most money out of it. I think I like our CA scratch lottery system better, but there is always the downside to scratchers: You may have zero chance of winning when buying from the stores in your area. Unlike draw games where you at least have a chance on every draw, however remote it is.

                            JAP69's avatar - Lottery-053.jpg
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                            Posted: January 15, 2011, 11:13 am - IP Logged

                            It would seem to me that when scratch off tickets are made they are bar coded and the amount of prize for that ticket goes into a data base for record. When tickets are sold the ticket is activated with that bar code going into the states data base. The state could possibly know where the ticket was sold and the amount of prize before it is even cashed.

                            Seems like I read articles where unclaimed prize tickets were known where they were sold and the amount of the prize based on the states data base info.

                            Stats hunting: Type

                              Jon D's avatar - calotterylogo
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                              Posted: January 15, 2011, 11:17 am - IP Logged

                              I agree, or only play games with the majority of the TOP PRIZES still remaining.

                               

                              I wouldnt play a game that only has 1 top prize remaining.

                              I would agree on not playing any game with only 1 top prize remaining.

                              But I wonder what the best strategy is for other games? Just thinking about the complexities of the manufacturing and distribution of scratch cards:

                              Let's say a particular $5 game has 25 top prizes of $1,000,000 and a total of $75,000,000 in prizes both large and small. So they have at least around 30,000,000 cards manufactured to distribute. Where are the top prizes inserted?

                              If they were all in the front part, they'd lose money, all the prizes won early and people stop playing. If they were all at the end, that could be good for the lotto in theory, except people will get pissed off because no winners come out till the end. So maybe it is pseudo-randomly evenly spaced throughout the 24,000,000 tickets?

                              Or maybe they load up a bunch towards the back end to keep people playing, have some up front the get excitement going, and then a trickle of the remainder spread through the middle? In that case, might make sense to play that game towards the front 1/3 and the back 1/3, but not the middle?