Just as with any other addiction and being in the US is irrelevant, the steps to remaining clean when you live with an addiction apply anywhere. Even if you occasionally backslide and purchase a ticket, put it behind you and strive to r. Online scratchcards work in pretty much the same way as the real deal. However, instead of manually scratching off a ticket, you use your mouse cursor to do so. If you’re still confused, here is a step-by-step guide: Pick the scratch off game you would like to play. There are loads of instant win games available online.

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Lotteries are big business indeed, and spending on lotteries simply dwarf other forms of gambling, mostly due to its superior access and marketing. Lotteries also offer the appeal of a shot at a huge payout, and a big part of their appeal for many players is imagining what they would do if they were fortunate enough to get a big win, in spite of the very low probability of this ever happening.

Conventional lottery drawings do involve a considerable time lag between the purchase and getting the results, although this doesn’t discourage a lot of people. However, for many, the opportunity to reduce the waiting time from days to literally seconds is plenty appealing indeed, and this is exactly what scratch games do.

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Normally, when you buy a lottery ticket, you have to wait until the drawing takes place, which occurs on a periodic basis, once a week or once every couple of weeks. People buy tickets over this time and then the numbers are drawn and announced and players check their tickets to see if they won anything.

It isn’t really necessary to only have the drawings done periodically though, as the payouts are based upon probability and not how many tickets are sold, and in theory the lottery could do a “draw” each time a ticket was purchased and deliver instant results to the player.

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There is some logic though behind periodic draws as it’s easier to market big jackpots in the media if it’s done in a fixed manner, rather than akin to a progressive jackpot which can grow larger by the second. Because it isn’t static, lotteries couldn’t advertise a certain number and being able to do so does contribute a lot to their sales, as many players get more excited as jackpots grow and will purchase even more tickets to try to cash in.

Scratch Games Offer A Quick and Easy Alternative

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The technology for instant lotteries has been around since the 1970s, and in 1987 the first patent was issued for a scratch lottery format, where players would simply scratch off areas of a ticket to reveal pre-determined prizes.

So the company would issue a batch of tickets with prizes distributed on them based upon the desired odds and payouts, then they would be offered for sale. In this sense, the lottery results have already been drawn, and players would then purchase random tickets to them to seek an chance at winning the prizes.

As it turned out, this was a great idea, as it removes the wait time completely, other than the anticipation of doing the scratching, which does form an important part of the experience for many players.

Some players like to scratch their tickets slowly, paying close attention to the results as they go, and using that to build up their excitement and anticipation, while others may prefer to scratch the whole ticket at once and accelerate the experience even more. It’s your ticket though and you may scratch it however you like.

While the size of jackpots with scratch tickets is more limited than conventional lottery draws, the prizes do tend to be quite a bit higher than you would see with most casino games, and this also helps fuel the appeal for them. Like casino games though, payouts do tend to be more widely distributed, in other words more frequent smaller wins, much like a slot machine would pay out, to keep players’ interest and have them keep buying and playing.

Virtual Scratch Games

Online casinos have now gotten into this game with the offering of virtual scratch tickets as part of their casino software, and like other online casino games, these are available both in instant play through a browser, and by downloading the online casino’s software.

The process is the same, other than the fact that you don’t actually physically scratch the cards, you use a mouse to click instead, although graphics are generally provided to make the experience seem more real.

There is no real difference though between a physical and virtual scratch ticket, other than the online version is more accessible, you don’t have to go to a lottery booth to buy them, you don’t have to leave your home at all, and can even play on the go on your mobile device.

Online scratch cards also tend to have much more player friendly odds than scratch tickets offered by lotteries, which are famous for their very high edge. Lotteries enjoy a sort of monopoly though and can get away with that, where online casinos aggressively compete with each other and this serves to drive down the house edge to levels much more comparable with other casino games.

In a real sense, online scratch games are very similar to slots, the same idea just being presented in a different graphical format. Online scratch tickets aren’t anywhere near as popular as slots though, for whatever reason, but it is a fast growing form of gambling, and is certainly an enjoyable one for those looking for an experience that is both simple and relaxing and also a lot of fun.

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Secrets of State Lottery Scratch-off Contracts

When most people think of advantage gambling, state lottery scratch-offs are the last thing that enters their minds.

Everyone’s heard of counting cards at blackjack. There are even several moviesabout it.

And poker has been shown to be a game of skill; just look at the repeat winners of major tournaments like the World Series of Poker and the World Poker Tour.

But most people still refer to the lottery as an “idiot tax”.

And scratch offs have a notoriously bad expected value (which you can think of as a gambling game’s return on investment).

To give you an example of how bad lottery tickets can be, most $1 scratch offs have an expected value of around 60%, meaning for every $1 you spend, you’re expected to get back just $0.60; a $0.40 loss.

Most penny slots have paybacks that are better than that.

And other gambling games, like blackjack, can approach 99% payback without any card counting at all.

I’m here to shed light on a new way of thinking about scratch-offs and show you how you can improve your odds. It won’t always be profitable.

But under the right circumstances, it can be. If you’re going to play regardless, you might as well maximize your chances of winning.

Here are my insights about how to win at scratch-offs. I’ve gained these insights by reading the contracts and procurement documents that state lottery organizations have with their ticket printers.

Combine these insights with sites that calculate a scratch-off ticket’s odds, and you’ll be playing like a sharp

Where Are Scratch-off Grand Prizes?

Grand prizes are not random.

I’m sure all of these insights will come as a surprise.

But this one is probably the biggest.

Surely the state wants to ensure a fair game.

How can it be fair if the biggest prizes of all aren’t even random?

Here’s an image of the procurement document that the Massachusett’s lottery used to elicit bids from ticket printers:

You’ll see that they require the grand prizes to be distributed evenly throughout the game.

Note that “distributed evenly throughout the game” is not random.

If the prizes were random, then they might all appear at the start of the game. Or they might all appear at the end of a game.

But the state doesn’t want that to happen. If all of the grand prizes were claimed at the start of the game, then people would stop playing the game because they would have no shot at the big money.

You can take advantage of this fact by figuring out how many tickets are in a “pool” where a grand prize should be. If there are 9,000,000 tickets and 3 grand prizes, then divide 9,000,000 by 3 to figure out that there must be 1 grand prize every 3,000,000 tickets.

Then, use the state’s lottery website to figure out how many tickets remain. Most states publish this information for each game.

In the example game just mentioned, if there were 7,000,000 tickets remaining and still 3 remaining grand prizes, then you know the first grand prize must be in the next 1,000,000 tickets. Your odds just improved from 1 in 3,000,000 to 1 in 1,000,000.

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That may not seem like much, but it can mean the difference between negative and positive expected value.

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Is There A Limit To The Number Of Big Winning Tickets In A Roll?

Here’s an image from documents filed as part of a Texas lawsuit against the state and the ticket printer:

In this contract that Texas has with IGT, there’s a clause that states that there can be no more than a certain number of $25-$50 winners per pack of tickets. There’s another clause that states there can be no more than one winner of $75 and higher per pack. (The “one” is redacted, but we can deduce that tit’s one by looking at the word following the redaction, which is “winner” rather than “winners”).

How can you use this to your advantage?

Buy only one ticket from a pack at a time and scratch it right there at the store.

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If it happens to be a big winner, don’t buy any more tickets from that pack.

What Is The Minimum Payback for a Roll of Scratch-off Tickets?

This next image is from the request for a proposal from the New Mexico lottery association to ticket printers:

It shows that each pack of tickets has some guaranteed payout. The details of the guaranteed payout aren’t specified, but from other contracts and personal experience, I’ve found it to typically be about 50% of the price of a pack of tickets. If an entire roll of tickets costs $600, then the GLEP is usually about $300.

What this means for the advantage player is that you should not stop buying after a string of losers.

Since each roll of tickets is guaranteed to have a certain minimum payout, then every loser you see increases the chance that the remaining tickets are winners.


While none of the above insights will guarantee you will win, they are just a few of the things you can do for yourself if you want to know how to beat scratch-offs.

Combine these insights with some expected value calculations from the remaining prizes that get displayed on the state lottery websites and you’ll be doing way better than the average lotto player.

Good luck.

About the Author

Eric Ihli, a professional gambler/programmer, spent 10 years as a full-time professional gambler and 5 years as a software engineer. He now combines those two passions by writing software to discover and evaluate profitable gambling opportunities.