Players of scratch-off lottery games usually hope for more than just a quick buck or two when they purchase scratch-off lotteries; they often hope for the chance of winning big prize pools of five figures or more – though while their odds may increase significantly should they indeed come away winners, overall your odds may not.
Scratch-off game odds vary by game and are printed on every ticket sold by Pennsylvania Lottery spokesman Brian Wexler. He explained that these overall chances can be calculated by dividing the total prizes sold by ticket sales volume; retailers or the state have no say over where tickets are distributed from a central warehouse to stores, thus keeping their chances constant regardless of when or where tickets are sold.
Some lottery buyers use lottery tickets responsibly; however, others can become addicted and spend excessively. Gamblers who spend more than their income or savings on these tickets pose a problem, according to Wexler who has helped compulsive gamblers lose large sums quickly through these tickets. He recently convinced New Jersey’s Lottery Commission to include printing its hotline number for gambling addiction support on all lottery tickets sold therein.
But not all state-run lotteries are willing to comply, according to Heine. Some states lack gambling addiction helplines and will not permit those struggling with an addiction to play the lottery. “By not providing treatment, they put their lives at risk,” Heine cautioned. Without assistance they may turn to drugs or alcohol.
Only some states provide gambling addiction hotlines and encourage compulsive gamblers to call. But these states don’t have a legal requirement to publish these numbers online or within game information, according to Prof. Copeland. For this reason, he is lobbying federal lawmakers for them all state-run lotteries be required to publish such numbers publicly as well.
Some of the world’s biggest lottery companies practice misleading advertising. NBC 5 Investigates has tracked games which claim you can “win up to” an amount even after all top prizes are gone; that type of false advertising raises concerns among people like Pat Jackson who submitted his question via our CuriousNC platform.