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Thread: California Lottery $30 Scratchers

  1. #1
    The California lottery is now selling $30 scratchers. Isn't that a bit much?

    Article here: http://alanbestbuys.com/id104.html

  2. #2
    The $20 and $30 tickets offer the best payout percentage (76% and 79% respectively) out of the other scratcher games.

    They sold a $30 ticket last year when it was the California Lottery 30th Anniversary ticket. This is the second time they are experimenting and so far it seems like there is a demand for these high priced tickets.

    You might want to add in your article about the $10 Million Grand Prize.

    The winner chooses $400,000 a year for 25 years or $5.8 Million one lump sum.

  3. #3
    Interesting. I don't remember looking at all the scratch tickets when in a CA gas station. Do they have them everywhere they have tickets?


    Also, how did you get the information on how many have been hit or remaining? You wrote 3/4 and 4/8 for top prize and second prize, respectively, are still available.

  4. #4
    Originally Posted by RS__ View Post
    Interesting. I don't remember looking at all the scratch tickets when in a CA gas station. Do they have them everywhere they have tickets?


    Also, how did you get the information on how many have been hit or remaining? You wrote 3/4 and 4/8 for top prize and second prize, respectively, are still available.
    Most places do sell the $20 or $30 tickets. For the places that do not, it is because they do not want to have a lot of money on hand to pay out the $50 prizes often. The CA lottery gives retailers an option not to cash $50 tickets. For sure there are plenty at the Lotto store at state line at Primm Valley for the non advantage gamblers that want to play.

    The California Lottery website keeps track of prizes remaining. If all top prizes are claimed the game is pulled. The game is only out for more than a month and is almost a third sold from looking at the lower prizes claimed.

    http://www.calottery.com/Play/Scratc...rnia-gold-1250

  5. #5
    RS__ I was surprised that the California lottery published the tally of winning tickets. Alpax thanks for posting the link. That is the same page I used to get the data in my article.

    It's been years (many years) since I did any kind of reporting about the California Lottery, and years ago this data was not available.

    When I was the business reporter with KTTV, the Fox station in LA, from 1987-90 I regularly reported on the lottery because Fox was the station that broadcast the lottery drawings. So I frequently did stories on lottery security, and covered the press conferences with the winners, and reported on the new games.

    I was in the lottery studio for one drawing when during rehearsals they had a mishap and one of the two sets of lottery balls accidentally fell to the floor. The entire set of balls had to be thrown out because of the danger of contamination that could impact the fairness of the drawing should there be even a fleck of dust on a ball. That is an example of just how tight security is with the lottery system. I wish I had the video -- but that was before stuff was available online and I don't think Fox ever took it out of the archives to put online.

  6. #6
    Originally Posted by alpax View Post
    You might want to add in your article about the $10 Million Grand Prize.

    The winner chooses $400,000 a year for 25 years or $5.8 Million one lump sum.
    Top prize is in the second paragraph.

    You point out something that is significant: these top prizes are actually annuities. A lump sum payment is always less than the annuity amount. It's the same with IGT and its Wheel of Fortune machines: if you take the lump sum it is less than the annuity grand prize.

    Wouldn't it be wonderful to have that problem -- which amount to take? LOL

  7. #7
    I've hardly ever played WOF, but that brings to mind a question -- Does the machine state the payout will be in annuities or a smaller lump sum?


    RE: Online showing data thing -- quite interesting. I'm probably not the first person to think, if the information is tracked, it could (theoretically) yield +EV situations. However, given how high a house edge there is on lotteries, that seems very unlikely to be the case, as you'd have to have a huge skew or shift in in probabilities for possible ticket outcomes. Based on about 30 seconds of looking at that site, it seems like very little of the overall payback is on the grand prize while a majority is on the smaller prizes. I'm not sure if that's a good thing or bad thing.
    Last edited by RS__; 03-10-2017 at 04:06 AM.

  8. #8
    If you look closely on the WOF machines there is a disclaimer that says that the payout is in something like ten or 15 annual installments, depending on the game. It's in small print.

  9. #9
    Has anyone actually bought a $30 scratcher?

    Several years ago I got some $5 scratchers as a birthday present, but never played anything higher.

  10. #10
    Originally Posted by RS__ View Post
    RE: Online showing data thing -- quite interesting. I'm probably not the first person to think, if the information is tracked, it could (theoretically) yield +EV situations. However, given how high a house edge there is on lotteries, that seems very unlikely to be the case, as you'd have to have a huge skew or shift in in probabilities for possible ticket outcomes. Based on about 30 seconds of looking at that site, it seems like very little of the overall payback is on the grand prize while a majority is on the smaller prizes. I'm not sure if that's a good thing or bad thing.
    The California Lottery did extensive surveys to the players over the last 10-15 years to find out that players prefer to have more moderate wins of $50 or $100 than to have slightly higher amount of jackpots. It used to give perception that every ticket was either a loser or a break even prize. Now it gives people a better perspective that winning tickets do exist, but still a false sense of hope at the big jackpot.

    Jackpots used to be 1 in 240k, 300k, or 480k odds. But now they are 1 in 1.2 million or even 1 in 3 million odds so that these big prizes can be distributed into smaller ones.

    With scratch offs, it is more about being at the right place at the right time. The odds are so stacked to a point where a player may not ever win a $5000 prize or greater in their lifetime of playing. I do not think CA Lottery will allow a retailer to ask for specific ticket ID ranges, something that Joan Ginther might have done with the Texas Lottery.

    Originally Posted by Alan Mendelson View Post
    Has anyone actually bought a $30 scratcher?

    Several years ago I got some $5 scratchers as a birthday present, but never played anything higher.
    I did buy the $30 ticket from last year and this year. I buy one $20 or $30 ticket at the end of grocery shopping. It is sold everywhere but I set a hard limit.

    The edge is so high, and people may say I am throwing away money which I do not blame them for. I do not have expectations to win, but sometimes it is better to be lucky than to be good. These scratchers do offer the potential of a nice payout that casino games cannot offer, but only 1 out of every hundreds of people get that privilege.

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  11. #11
    Here's an example of a Montana Lottery progressive game that sometimes goes positive....and it is getting close to positive tonight. But it's not life changing money. It's called Shake A Day. It's played in the bars in Montana. There are kiosks that where you can see what the current jackpot is and buy tickets. An RNG cranks out the tickets. Here's a sreenshot I took just a few minutes ago:

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    Everything you need to know to analyze the game is in this screenshot. A ticket costs $3. The jackpot resets to $1000. Every ticket bought increases the jackpot amount. In the upper right you can see the odds of hitting paying tickets.

    The frequency of a full house is 2.5 and pays $3 so $3 times 2.5 = $7.50

    $3/$7.50 means the full houses represent 40% of the payback.

    The frequency of a 4 of a Kind is 55.56 and pays $50 so $3 times 55.56 = $166.68

    $50/$166.68 means the 4 of a Kind represents 30% of the payback.

    The frequency of the 5 of a Kind jackpot is 1 in 5000 so 5000 tickets cost $15,000.

    So tickets that cost $3 have a 70% return between jackpots. That means that the average cost per ticket in the long run is just 90 cents. So 5000 tickets would actually cost $4500. When the progressive meter goes above $4500 the game is in positive territory.

    The $1000 reset amount divided by $15,000 (the cost of 5000 tickets) means it represents 6.666% of the payback.

    So now we have the game up to 76.666%. My guess is 10 cents out of every ticket goes into the progressive meter. That would make it an 80% game.

    I just checked the jackpot amount online again. It's up to $4200. It's 7 PM here and the bars are filling up. This game is going to get a lot of action tonight until it gets hit.

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