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Are Scratchers infinitely harder to win?

Topic closed. 20 replies. Last post 2 years ago by jaggudada.

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Inland Empire
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Posted: January 16, 2015, 2:39 am - IP Logged

 For the last 8 months, I spent a few hundred dollars on scratchers, mostly luck for life and 5 million dollar ones. Here's one thing I realized: You need to buy the winning ticket at a location that the ticket is located, which makes it really harder to win one because you never know where the winning tickets are.

 This is why I decided to stick with jackpot lottos like MM and PB. They are cheaper and kinda more fun. Sure, the result is more instant with the scratchers, but they turn out to be the worse waste of money than lottos.

    cbr$'s avatar - maren
    Cordova,Al.
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    Posted: January 16, 2015, 3:45 am - IP Logged

     For the last 8 months, I spent a few hundred dollars on scratchers, mostly luck for life and 5 million dollar ones. Here's one thing I realized: You need to buy the winning ticket at a location that the ticket is located, which makes it really harder to win one because you never know where the winning tickets are.

     This is why I decided to stick with jackpot lottos like MM and PB. They are cheaper and kinda more fun. Sure, the result is more instant with the scratchers, but they turn out to be the worse waste of money than lottos.

    I don't think scratchers are any harder to win then the other games. There are two things you can ask that may help in your selecting a great ticket, you ask the clerk, which tickets are the people returning to them the most & which tickets are the newest in their line? 

      LottoMetro's avatar - Lottery-024.jpg
      Happyland
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      Posted: January 16, 2015, 9:13 am - IP Logged

       For the last 8 months, I spent a few hundred dollars on scratchers, mostly luck for life and 5 million dollar ones. Here's one thing I realized: You need to buy the winning ticket at a location that the ticket is located, which makes it really harder to win one because you never know where the winning tickets are.

       This is why I decided to stick with jackpot lottos like MM and PB. They are cheaper and kinda more fun. Sure, the result is more instant with the scratchers, but they turn out to be the worse waste of money than lottos.

      Scratchers have the best odds of winning and the best payouts. Try mixing up the locations where you purchase, or just look for games with better overall odds.

      It is difficult to hit a jackpot in your state lotto drawing. It is likewise difficult to hit a jackpot on a scratcher. That's the nature of the lottery Smile

      If the chances of winning the jackpot are so slim, why play when the jackpot is so small? Your chances never change, but the potential payoff does.
      If a crystal ball showed you the future of the rest of your life, and in that future you will never win a jackpot, would you still play?

      2016: -48.28% (13 tickets) ||
      P&L % = Total Win($)/Total Wager($) - 1

        noise-gate's avatar - images q=tbn:ANd9GcR91HDs4UJhjxO7cmeMQWZ5lB_FOcMLOGicau4V74R45tDgPWrr
        Bay Area - California
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        Posted: January 16, 2015, 10:06 am - IP Logged

         For the last 8 months, I spent a few hundred dollars on scratchers, mostly luck for life and 5 million dollar ones. Here's one thing I realized: You need to buy the winning ticket at a location that the ticket is located, which makes it really harder to win one because you never know where the winning tickets are.

         This is why I decided to stick with jackpot lottos like MM and PB. They are cheaper and kinda more fun. Sure, the result is more instant with the scratchers, but they turn out to be the worse waste of money than lottos.

        Tell you what G, the story is quite different out in CA,  l can't begin to tell you how many times l have seen folks buy scratcher tickets,  go to their trucks/cars and return within minutes with a "hit"..It's possible that the payout is low but...

         I for one am not interested in that game whatsoever- it is far too addictive from what I can tell.

        People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it- George Bernard Shaw.

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          Posted: January 16, 2015, 12:57 pm - IP Logged

          Scratchers have the best odds of winning and the best payouts. Try mixing up the locations where you purchase, or just look for games with better overall odds.

          It is difficult to hit a jackpot in your state lotto drawing. It is likewise difficult to hit a jackpot on a scratcher. That's the nature of the lottery Smile

          OK ... I no longer play many scratch off tickets as I once did in the 80's and 90's ... used to buy books every so often ... but back then they didn't print as many tickets for a game as they do today. A book of $1 scratch off tickets was $500 in the 80's ... I think today they might be $300 a book ... but I am not 100% sure about that.

          Anyway, speaking of odds between scratch offs and playing Mega Millions for example ... I am not taking issue with the fact that scratch offs have a "higher pay" return ... of course many times a person spends $10 or $20 and wins $10 or $20 ... of course there are a lot of those tickets printed ... and I would guess most people plow that "small win" right back into another ticket ... so yes there are possibly many small winners totaling thousands or hundreds of thousands or perhaps millions ... I don't know but the lottery can claim "there are many winning tickets" to be had.

          However, here's my question ... first of all, in all the lottery states that have scratch off games ... what is the largest scratch off prize offered anywhere (USA) ... perhaps $5 million dollars ?

          Is there one that large or larger? ... So my thinking ... even though the scratchers are maybe slightly better to win at, from what I read here ... when the jackpot ... and I will pick Mega Millions for now ... is around $300 million or higher with a nice cash option, ... even with MM being harder to win, wouldn't a better play be to play Mega Millions for a chance at a larger jackpot.

          You and others have said that both games are still hard to win at but when a ticket jackpot starts to approach hundreds of millions of dollars and beyond ... would not $100 or $200 be better spent at the bigger prize.

          This is what I keep kicking around in my head ... as I asked earlier, what is the largest possible prize that any state pays for a scratch off ticket?

          I just throw all this out for comments and discussion.

          CW

            LottoMetro's avatar - Lottery-024.jpg
            Happyland
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            Posted: January 16, 2015, 1:17 pm - IP Logged

            The largest top prize on a scratch off, I believe is either $15 million or $30 million. One of the New England lotteries if I'm not mistaken.

            In regards to top prize odds, there are some draw games with better odds. But this doesn't help your wallet. You will do better in the long run playing games with better overall odds, while at the same time retaining that small chance of winning a jackpot. For instance, MM has odds of 1 in 14.7, but the worst $1 scratch-off in my state has odds of less than 1 in 5. Now, obviously a $1 scratch-off won't have as big a top prize (I think the biggest in the states is like $100K or $500K), but that is another reason why you have to look at the payout per dollar. I will take a $5 game with odds of 1 in 3.5 over a $1 game with odds of 1 in 15 any day, not just because it has higher probability of winning but also because it pays out more per dollar (lower-tier prizes etc).

            Unrelated comment but instant gratification of scratchers can lead to overspending; however, a positive side to instance is the time-value-of-money principle. With a drawing, you wait hours or days to receive your return (winnings), if any. That time is worth money. Eliminating this period raises your utility in terms of TVM.

            If the chances of winning the jackpot are so slim, why play when the jackpot is so small? Your chances never change, but the potential payoff does.
            If a crystal ball showed you the future of the rest of your life, and in that future you will never win a jackpot, would you still play?

            2016: -48.28% (13 tickets) ||
            P&L % = Total Win($)/Total Wager($) - 1

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              Posted: January 16, 2015, 1:41 pm - IP Logged

              The largest top prize on a scratch off, I believe is either $15 million or $30 million. One of the New England lotteries if I'm not mistaken.

              In regards to top prize odds, there are some draw games with better odds. But this doesn't help your wallet. You will do better in the long run playing games with better overall odds, while at the same time retaining that small chance of winning a jackpot. For instance, MM has odds of 1 in 14.7, but the worst $1 scratch-off in my state has odds of less than 1 in 5. Now, obviously a $1 scratch-off won't have as big a top prize (I think the biggest in the states is like $100K or $500K), but that is another reason why you have to look at the payout per dollar. I will take a $5 game with odds of 1 in 3.5 over a $1 game with odds of 1 in 15 any day, not just because it has higher probability of winning but also because it pays out more per dollar (lower-tier prizes etc).

              Unrelated comment but instant gratification of scratchers can lead to overspending; however, a positive side to instance is the time-value-of-money principle. With a drawing, you wait hours or days to receive your return (winnings), if any. That time is worth money. Eliminating this period raises your utility in terms of TVM.

              OK LM ... if the MM is at 10 or 15 million ... and I am ready to buy lottery tickets ... I'm standing there with $100 to spend, being that the MM jackpot is so low, I would maybe buy some scratch off tickets ... however, at a later date ... I'm back at lottery store with another $100 to spend and now the MM jackpot is $400 million, I pause and decide to throw the $100 at MM tickets.

              Chances are very good that I will win nothing "meaningful" by buying scratch offs or Mega Millions tickets but as I stand there deciding where to spend the $100 ... it would have to be tickets on the $400 million MM jackpot.

              Ten million is OK but $400 million well worth $100 in tickets ... of course, I rarely buy scratch offs and I don't spend $100 on the Mega Millions all at once but there is a cross-over point where MM becomes more attractable over scratch offs as the jackpot grows.

              ... and of course most people are only going to win "peanuts" with either game.

              I've watched people buying scratch offs and I always ask myself ... maybe there is no winning ticket in this store, it's across the street at the gas station. Perhaps the winning ticket is right beside the game I would be buying ... to the right or left ... or it's already gone or much further in the book, if a person has enough 10s or 20s in their pocket !!! I'd rather just buy the MM ticket or tickets and hope Lady Luck is in the neighborhood.

              It tough to make a buck !

              CW

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                Happyland
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                Posted: January 16, 2015, 1:52 pm - IP Logged

                OK LM ... if the MM is at 10 or 15 million ... and I am ready to buy lottery tickets ... I'm standing there with $100 to spend, being that the MM jackpot is so low, I would maybe buy some scratch off tickets ... however, at a later date ... I'm back at lottery store with another $100 to spend and now the MM jackpot is $400 million, I pause and decide to throw the $100 at MM tickets.

                Chances are very good that I will win nothing "meaningful" by buying scratch offs or Mega Millions tickets but as I stand there deciding where to spend the $100 ... it would have to be tickets on the $400 million MM jackpot.

                Ten million is OK but $400 million well worth $100 in tickets ... of course, I rarely buy scratch offs and I don't spend $100 on the Mega Millions all at once but there is a cross-over point where MM becomes more attractable over scratch offs as the jackpot grows.

                ... and of course most people are only going to win "peanuts" with either game.

                I've watched people buying scratch offs and I always ask myself ... maybe there is no winning ticket in this store, it's across the street at the gas station. Perhaps the winning ticket is right beside the game I would be buying ... to the right or left ... or it's already gone or much further in the book, if a person has enough 10s or 20s in their pocket !!! I'd rather just buy the MM ticket or tickets and hope Lady Luck is in the neighborhood.

                It tough to make a buck !

                CW

                You would still do better with the scratch-offs! Instead of looking at the prize OR odds, you have to look at the prize AND odds.

                Spending $100 on MM only improves your odds to about 1 in 2.85 million, whereas spending the same amount on say a $20 scratcher would give you top prize odds of less than 1 in 500,000 (give or take). Yeah you won't walk away with hundreds of millions, but most people would be happy with several million. And because you're still very unlikely to win in either case, might as well make the most of the lower prizes. That's where scratchers shine.

                The "wrong store" argument can also apply to "wrong combination" in draw games. You narrow your picks down to 20 digits but decide to only play 15. What if the winning numbers are the other 5? There's really no rhyme or reason or rationale to this. If you win a jackpot, regardless of game type, it will be by pure luck. Playing games with better odds just improves your luck. I try to make the "most of my dollar" by only choosing games that pay out the most and most often.

                If the chances of winning the jackpot are so slim, why play when the jackpot is so small? Your chances never change, but the potential payoff does.
                If a crystal ball showed you the future of the rest of your life, and in that future you will never win a jackpot, would you still play?

                2016: -48.28% (13 tickets) ||
                P&L % = Total Win($)/Total Wager($) - 1

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                  Posted: January 16, 2015, 1:55 pm - IP Logged

                  You would still do better with the scratch-offs! Instead of looking at the prize OR odds, you have to look at the prize AND odds.

                  Spending $100 on MM only improves your odds to about 1 in 2.85 million, whereas spending the same amount on say a $20 scratcher would give you top prize odds of less than 1 in 500,000 (give or take). Yeah you won't walk away with hundreds of millions, but most people would be happy with several million. And because you're still very unlikely to win in either case, might as well make the most of the lower prizes. That's where scratchers shine.

                  The "wrong store" argument can also apply to "wrong combination" in draw games. You narrow your picks down to 20 digits but decide to only play 15. What if the winning numbers are the other 5? There's really no rhyme or reason or rationale to this. If you win a jackpot, regardless of game type, it will be by pure luck. Playing games with better odds just improves your luck. I try to make the "most of my dollar" by only choosing games that pay out the most and most often.

                  I agree ... all just "pure luck" !!!

                    maringoman's avatar - images q=tbn:ANd9GcTbRxpKQmOfcCoUqF2FyqIOAwDo7rg9G-lfJLAALPGWJWwiz19eRw
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                    Posted: January 17, 2015, 8:48 am - IP Logged

                    In Massachusetts more than 100 people won $1M or more in 2014 playing scratch offs. Only 15 won $1M or more playing draw type games.

                    That money's gone fo ever

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                      Posted: January 17, 2015, 8:50 am - IP Logged

                      Only the Pick games allow you to create your own luck, to write your own winning ticket from anywhere the game can be played.

                      Scratch Offs are for fun, gifts, etc. win lower tier prizes.  There may not be a scratch jackpot in the entire city.

                      BobP

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                        Posted: January 17, 2015, 3:56 pm - IP Logged

                        Over the past few years, I've actually moved onto scratchers more. I rarely play the MM or PB anymore. (And I don't see myself playing the PB once the new rules go into effect this year.)

                        Here in Michigan, you can check how many scratchers are left for a game on the website. Plus the other draw games' odds are listed. A 1 in 4 scratcher is still better than a 1 in 10 draw game.

                        That said, I NEVER play any scratcher less than $10 (there are exceptions of course - there's a scratcher for $5 right now that has 1 in 3.65 odds that I've done great with). Like others have said, I ask the retailers how many they have been selling and I keep track of where I buy them, winners and losers, factor in store traffic (grocery store versus small out of the way gas station). It's a lot of work, but it does give the illusion of control versus "fire and forget" draw games.

                        So far, for 2015, I'm in the black. Sure, I can't exactly retire yet, but I'm a couple hundred dolalrs ahead.

                          LottoMetro's avatar - Lottery-024.jpg
                          Happyland
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                          Posted: January 17, 2015, 5:52 pm - IP Logged

                          Over the past few years, I've actually moved onto scratchers more. I rarely play the MM or PB anymore. (And I don't see myself playing the PB once the new rules go into effect this year.)

                          Here in Michigan, you can check how many scratchers are left for a game on the website. Plus the other draw games' odds are listed. A 1 in 4 scratcher is still better than a 1 in 10 draw game.

                          That said, I NEVER play any scratcher less than $10 (there are exceptions of course - there's a scratcher for $5 right now that has 1 in 3.65 odds that I've done great with). Like others have said, I ask the retailers how many they have been selling and I keep track of where I buy them, winners and losers, factor in store traffic (grocery store versus small out of the way gas station). It's a lot of work, but it does give the illusion of control versus "fire and forget" draw games.

                          So far, for 2015, I'm in the black. Sure, I can't exactly retire yet, but I'm a couple hundred dolalrs ahead.

                          Like others have said, I ask the retailers how many they have been selling and I keep track of where I buy them, winners and losers, factor in store traffic (grocery store versus small out of the way gas station).

                          When I used to play a lot more than I do now, I would do the same thing. I used machines to avoid annoying clerks and since I came in every day or so I could memorize how many tickets had been sold since my last visit, then make projections for the next few days. Since I knew exactly how many winners were in each pack I could calculate within reasonable certainty the probability of the next ticket being a winner, given how many tickets were left, as well as possible winnings.

                          It was a lot of work. After I slowed down my play I stopped tracking individual stores; however, even today I still track tickets sold (Open Records Requests are your friend) and can predict within a few days of when a top prize will be sold. The only problem is figuring out whereLOL

                          If the chances of winning the jackpot are so slim, why play when the jackpot is so small? Your chances never change, but the potential payoff does.
                          If a crystal ball showed you the future of the rest of your life, and in that future you will never win a jackpot, would you still play?

                          2016: -48.28% (13 tickets) ||
                          P&L % = Total Win($)/Total Wager($) - 1

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                            Posted: January 17, 2015, 5:59 pm - IP Logged

                            In the same week in my hometown we've had 2 guys win a million dollars each on 2 different scratchers.....whereas we havent had but a handful of powerball jackpot winners and 1 megamillions jackpot winner in the whole state since inception....i'd have to say its eaiser to win on the scratchers

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                              Posted: January 17, 2015, 7:09 pm - IP Logged

                              Like others have said, I ask the retailers how many they have been selling and I keep track of where I buy them, winners and losers, factor in store traffic (grocery store versus small out of the way gas station).

                              When I used to play a lot more than I do now, I would do the same thing. I used machines to avoid annoying clerks and since I came in every day or so I could memorize how many tickets had been sold since my last visit, then make projections for the next few days. Since I knew exactly how many winners were in each pack I could calculate within reasonable certainty the probability of the next ticket being a winner, given how many tickets were left, as well as possible winnings.

                              It was a lot of work. After I slowed down my play I stopped tracking individual stores; however, even today I still track tickets sold (Open Records Requests are your friend) and can predict within a few days of when a top prize will be sold. The only problem is figuring out whereLOL

                              LM ... you wouldn't be that person that was thrown out of of the Casino for counting cards at the blackjack table, would you? ... working and keeping track of scratch off tickets in your head sure looks a little like card counting to me !!!

                              I would think there's a connection there somewhere ...

                              CW