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Scratch-Off Payouts

Topic closed. 3 replies. Last post 10 years ago by ScratcherBoy.

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New Member
central NJ
United States
Member #48879
January 12, 2007
12 Posts
Posted: January 12, 2007, 10:43 am - IP Logged

Greetings. I am new to this forum, so forgive me if this is an old topic.

I frequently play scratch-off games in New Jersey (where I live) and New York (where I work). I am completely frustrated with the payout system of these games. Some examples:

- Caribbean Cruise Poker ($2, NJ): beat the dealer's hand in all 5 of my hands! $1.00 win for each hand ($5.00 total) for this incredible feat

- Lucky Lines ($3, NJ): completed 5 lines, $1.00 win on each line ($5.00 total); in my opinion, the odds on this game are longer than advertised (all three versions I've played over the last couple of years have been tough to beat - much more so than other scratch-offs)

- Be An Instant Millionaire ($5, NY): just this morning, uncovered a diamond (5X prize win) and uncovered $2.00 ($10.00 total win)

- Sizzling 7's ($2, NJ): found a black "7" in all 10 play areas! $1.00 win for each ($10 total)

I an go on and on. I have a gripe with seeing a dollar amount on a scratch-off ticket that is less than the price of the ticket. Why should $1.00 be a prize on a $2.00 ticket? (I know, you'll win more than once when you see $1.00, as you can't win less than the price of the ticket.)

Take my Caribbean Cruise Poker example. I would rather win $5.00 on one hand than $1.00 each on five hands. Psychologically, when you win multiple times on one ticket, you expect to be moving into "big prize" territory.

I also have written to both the NJ and NY lottery commissions (with no response), suggesting a "high stakes" scratch-off, with higher minimum payouts (e.g., $5.00 min on a $2 game, $10 on a $3 game, $20 on a $5 game, etc.). Of course, there would be more losing tickets, but winners would be more valuable. Further, you can greatly lessen, lower or eliminate the top prizes, allowing for more "mid-level" prize winnings. For example, make the top prize $1,000 - $5,000 (instead of hundreds of thousands). Most scratch-off players know they'll never win the big one, and would be happy with better odds of hitting in the $50 - 500 range (I know I would).

I know, I know: the lottery intentionally puts lots of small winners into the pool, because they know people will just use those winnings to buy more tickets (effectively increasing their typical 35% share). But, why not release a few games that are geared more to the seasoned player? It's not like they go against the rules (same overall payout percentages would apply).

Just my $0.02. Thanks for reading.

    long island
    United States
    Member #40931
    June 8, 2006
    23 Posts
    Posted: January 12, 2007, 8:51 pm - IP Logged

    i totally agree with you.There should not be a prize value on the ticket thats less than the amt paid for the ticket.i played a 10.00 ticket in NY  got and 5.00 was underneath each 1 for a 25.00 win.i figured for sure i had won a minimun of 50.00 but no i got screwed.NY is not too bad when it comes to doing that but in NJ and PENN they are horrible!




      United States
      Member #10720
      January 23, 2005
      933 Posts
      Posted: January 12, 2007, 9:08 pm - IP Logged

      I play in nj also, and sometimes I play scratch-offs. The most I won is 500 dollars and it was one my girlfriend gave me. That is a while back. Ironically I "usually" win on tickets that people give me and "usually" lose on ones I buy for myself or give others. I try to avoid them though because it's not clear what the odds are and they are not systemable. Remember the Lottery will gear it so that for every $2 you play they keep $1 of it (and if you win big, you ALSO pay taxes on YOUR half).. some scratch-offs are 20 dollars which is I think insane.. The best method I have is: either buy one that takes a while to play (Bingo or Crossword) so at least I bought a few minutes of fun; or better yet when you are at the ELE7VEN look around for a pile of discarded scratch-offs on top of the outside wastebasket. I often find small winners that got overlooked, recently one worth 15 dollars! Also check the nj Lottery site as they will tell you on there how many big prizes are out there for which game.


        United States
        Member #45031
        August 13, 2006
        29 Posts
        Posted: January 14, 2007, 3:28 am - IP Logged

        In VA the lowest prize on a scratcher is a "break-even"...$2 on a $2 ticket, $10 on a $10 ticket and so forth.

        I have noticed via the VA lottery website that the levels of prizes have dropped, the $10 tickets used to have $500,000 1st prize, $10,000-$5,000-$1,000-$500-$350-$200-$100. Now the new $10 tickets have prizes between $100,00 or $300,000. There are less of $500-10,000 prizes per ticket, and the $350 level has been done away with in favor of $200and $150. Also when the top prize on a ticket has been claimed, the ticket used to pulled from retailers within a week. Now i believe it's 4 weeks.