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The Odds of Winning this Virginia Game Won't Get Me Out of Bed

Ben- April 4, 2019

We collect data on instant scratch lottery games in the forty-two states that have scratch lotteries. The worst odds of winning, in thousands of current games, is "Win Either $100 Or $200" in Virginia. Who's playing this game?

Here are a few disclaimers: every win is a relatively large win on this ticket: $100 for the bottom prize, and $200 for the top. Unlike the typical scratch ticket, where the bottom is the price of the ticket or a freebie, this game only offers meaty payouts. BUT! We at ScratcherJack want to understand the scratcher mentality as well as possible, and if the best payout on one of these games is $200, how can a buyer get excited? A ScratcherJack employee wants to reveal a matching number and have the hair on the back of their neck stand on end, expect a massive win, dream about flights in first class and piña coladas on some beach in Mexico. And $200 won't make it happen.

To boot, the odds here are super transparent. Buying scratchers is never a good long-term investment: the odds aren't great. But, 1 in 4 is enough to keep us going back to the Mobile station on a weekly basis. We figure that 1 in 4 will be a $1 million hit, so it'll be worth it! If about 1 in 10 wins, with the price being $20, you play 10 tickets and hope your winner is $200 (if you get one) and you can... get back to even? The only hope is to win two or three. But the odds don't support that hope.

Those of us at ScratcherJack are going to skip this Virginia offering. Instead, it may be time for a road trip to California, where "Bonus Play Millions" gives us some of the best odds we've seen: 1 in 2.97. With a top prize of $10 million, that could get us a few piña coladas!

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