Activities Hobbies One Thing You MUST Do to Win Big With Lottery Scratchers A Legit Way to Boost Your Odds of Hitting a Scratch-Off Jackpot Share PINTEREST Email Print Want to Win Big with Lottery Scratchers? Follow This Tip. Matthew Horwood / Getty Images Hobbies Contests Lotteries Basics Tips and Tricks Dream Vacations Win Money Win Electronics Home and Garden Win Vehicles Jewelry and Clothing Types of Contests Creative Contests Scams Couponing Freebies Frugal Living Fine Arts & Crafts Astrology Card Games & Gambling Cars & Motorcycles Playing Music Learn More Table of Contents Expand Research Your Before You Buy How to Research If You Can't Check the Website... By Sandra Grauschopf Sandra Grauschopf Facebook Twitter Writer University of Maryland Sandra Grauschopf has been working in the contests industry since 2002. She is a passionate sweeper, with tens of thousands of dollars worth of prize wins to her name, and she has been sharing advice about how to be a winner for over a decade. Learn about our Editorial Process Updated on 03/20/22 Are you planning on buying some lottery tickets for yourself or as a gift for a loved one? If you pick up lottery scratchers at your local convenience store or gas station, the chances are you'll probably win a small prize, if any — a buck or two, maybe $20 if you're lucky. But of course, the reason you're buying a ticket at all is that chance to win a big jackpot worth five figures or more. But... did you know that there's a chance that you could buy a scratcher ticket that advertises a big grand prize — and have absolutely no chance of winning that prize? Would you still buy that scratch-off ticket if you knew the odds of winning more than a few bucks weren't just low but zero? Especially if other games had better chances of a jackpot payout? Probably not. Before you buy a lottery scratcher, you must do one important thing: research which game is offering a ticket worth buying. Why You Need to Do Research on Lottery Scratchers Lottery scratchers are distributed to retailers in large rolls. Each roll is guaranteed to have a certain number of winners. Some of those winning scratch-off prizes will have bigger values, others will have smaller ones. The lottery scratchers usually advertise grand prizes, like a "$1 Million Merry Millions" jackpot. But unless the game has just been released, there's a chance that someone else already won that jackpot. If the winning scratch-off ticket has already been redeemed, the lottery knows that the big prize is gone, but they still sell tickets to that game because the smaller prizes are still available. It's totally legal to sell those tickets, even though the lottery is advertising a prize that's no longer available. That's why it's worth the time to research whether big prizes are still available before you buy. Not fair? Well, even if the grand prizes are gone, there may still be attractive prizes available to you. But if you don't want to settle for a smaller win, a little bit of research will ensure that you have the best chances of winning a jackpot. How to Research Your Lottery Scratchers To make buying lottery tickets more attractive, the state lottery websites publish information about which scratch-off prizes are still available. While there's a small chance that someone has bought a winning ticket but hasn't redeemed it yet, checking the lottery website before you buy gives you the best odds of a big win. Here's how to find the information you need: Visit the lottery website for the state where you're buying the tickets.Look for the scratchers or scratch-off section.Look for a break-down of all the different games and the prizes they have remaining.Pay attention to when the records were last updated. If you can, try to buy shortly after the lottery releases an update so you're using the most recent information.You can also check how long the scratch-off game has been running. Buying tickets from a new game gives you higher chances that more prizes are available for you to win. Once you know which prizes are still available, you can decide which game you want to play based on factors like the ticket price, the size of the prizes being offered, and how many prizes are still available. What If You Can't Check the Website? If you're buying tickets spontaneously or you don't have access to the internet, you might not be able to check the state lottery's website. So what can you do to boost your odds of choosing a big winner? First, you'll want to look at the odds of winning versus the payout. Tip: A rough rule of thumb is that scratchers that cost more money have better odds of winning and higher prize payouts. Another thing you can do is to look for games that offer a guaranteed winner per roll of tickets. This means that somewhere in the roll, there is a winning ticket (although it won't tell you whether it's been claimed or not). Next, you can ask which number the next ticket on the roll has before you buy. Although this may vary by state, rolls are often numbered sequentially starting with 000, so if the ticket number is low, it's less likely that one of the winning tickets from that roll is already gone. If you find a low-numbered roll with a guaranteed prize, you might want to buy a series of tickets from that roll. Each non-winning ticket you buy from the same roll gets you, theoretically, closer to a winning ticket. Switching games, however, means that the losing tickets won't necessarily bring you any closer to a winning ticket. Tip: Lottery player Richard Lustig recommends always buying at least 10 tickets from the same roll to improve your odds. Finally, you can ask the store clerk whether they've had a recent win from that roll. The clerk might not know, or might not be willing to answer. But if they do say that they've had a winner recently, your odds could be better if you pick a different game. By taking a bit of time to strategize before you buy, you can raise your odds of winning a jackpot through a lottery scratch-off.