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$20 Lottery Scratch Off Tickets

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$20 Platinum Rewards Maryland Lottery ScratchoffLast week, as my lovely wife was waiting in line at the supermarket checkout aisle, I wandered around. I don’t really enjoy waiting around for much of anything. It’s a mixture of impatience, attention deficit, and boredom, but in the time between putting the groceries on the belt and taking our bags to leave, I usually wander around the front of the store. I look at the piles of firewood, the coffee stand, some of the headlines on the newspapers, and I ended up looking at the cornucopia of scratch off lottery tickets in the automated dispenser.

That’s when I noticed that it sold twenty dollar scratch off tickets. (that’s one of them to the right) Twenty bucks… one card. The card probably had a bunch of games on it but the idea that there would be not one but three different $20 scratch off tickets was absolutely mind boggling. I was amazed. (as you can see, the letter “r” on my phone doesn’t work that great anymore)

What makes it even more remarkable is that it’s generally accepted that scratch off games offer the worst odds. The appeal is in the immediacy of the payoff. You scratch, you win, you walk into a store and get some cash. You don’t have to wait for a drawing, you have a little fun in scratching things off, and the ticket itself can be cheap ($1). The problem is that you probably won’t win anything.

A lot of other bloggers have done the $100 scratch off lottery game, where they buy a hundred $1 scratch off tickets and share their results. My favorite, and most entertaining, version of this was the $100 scratch off game by J Money. In his edition, he spent 90 minutes of his life and turned $100 into $38. If you want a way to turn $100 into $38 in less than 90 minutes, send me the crisp Franklin and I’ll send you back a Jackson, a Hamilton, a Lincoln, and three Washingtons. I’ll even cover postage.

Finally, if you are deadset on buying tickets… here are my secrets to how to win the lottery. 🙂

{ 77 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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77 Responses to “$20 Lottery Scratch Off Tickets”

  1. hoht says:

    That’s a very interesting trade off, $100 for $62. 😀

  2. hoht says:

    Lol meant to put “loss” after $62.

  3. Chris says:

    Florida offers a $20 millionaire raffle ticket around the holidays. They will have 10-20 winners every year and the odds are way better than any other loto deal as they limit the number of tickets they sell. I’ve never bought one though.

  4. The Rat says:

    Awesome thread! I love the part when you mention, “I’ll even cover the postage!” Too funny.

    It does highlight how crazy scratch offs can get and easy it is to blow literally hundreds of dollars in such a short time frame. I’m glad I don’t participate!

    The only time I buy scratch tickets is during X-mas time because I insert them into my family’s cards.

  5. cubiclegeoff says:

    It seems to me that scratch off tickets actually have better odds than other lottery tickets, and the higher the cost, the better the odds of at least winning your money back. Maybe it’s different here than down there though.

    For entertainment in high school and sometimes after, we used to buy scratch tickets and keep trading them in until we won decently or lost our money. We often did pretty well actually.

  6. Traciatim says:

    I kind of like giving the 3 packs of $2 scratch card packs that cost 5 bucks bundled in with gifts and things. It’s a nice little addition and if someone ends up winning anything it would make for an awesome present. Other than that I generally don’t buy any lottery tickets, although I’m part of a group lotto buy at work.

    • saladdin says:

      Girl I dated years ago had an office pool like that. They went as far as to get a lawyer to draw up papers on the specifics of payout.


    • jsbrendog says:

      i saw a gift someone received and it was like an edible arrangement except on the end of the wooden dowel rods were scratch off tickets instead of fruits and such. They were one of the “certain sum of money per week/month for life.” It was cool because of the novelty. there had to be about 15-20 tickets. Creative to say the least

      • ziglet19 says:

        That’s a fun idea! My mom loves scratchers, so I will often put some in birthday cards, etc. A scratchers “bouquet” is a cool idea for a birthday present.

  7. ctreit says:

    It is very interesting that lotteries are so popular. I play sometimes when the loot gets big enough, which is not much better since it has always been money down the drain. So stupid, but I still buy a ticket once in a great while.

    • jsbrendog says:

      megamillions goes over $150 mill then I buy 1 ticket on Fridays till someone wins. I will also throw in a couple if guys at work ask and have a large pool of people

  8. Daniel says:

    I probably spend about $30/yr on scratchie cards. $20 of it consists of a $2 or $3 card bought to accompany bday gifts for relatives. The other $10 is about the total I spend on them for myself, buying a $2 or $2 ticket once every couple months.

    I do get some enjoyment out of having the unscratched ticket in my desk drawer all day at work.

    Then I usually get that empty, “I feel stupid” feeling after I scratch off a loser and tear the card up and drop it in my wastebasket under my cubicle.

    • echidnina says:

      That’s the way it goes, isn’t it? No sugar high without a crash… No getting drunk without the hangover… Can’t have good without the bad. Ah well.

  9. I love the fact that lotteries are popular. The more money the government can get from the lottery, the less they need from taxes. In theory.

    I buy a handful of PowerBall tickets in a given year, but I haven’t bought a scratch ticket in years.

    About 10 years ago, I dropped by the grocery store to grab a frozen pizza on the way back into down after a weekend out of state. On the way out, I bought a $1 ticket and won $50. I’ve had a few $20+ winners … which is odd, since I doubt I’ve ever bought more than 5 scratch tickets in a given year.

    In Iowa, they have “pull tab” machines with tickets that cost as little as 25 cents. Bascially, training wheels to allow you to get addicted.

    There’s also the possibility that our casinos will add sports gambling soon.

    A couple of years ago, they experimented with machines in restaurants, bars, and gas stations that were essentially mini slot machines. After several months, they axed the machine due to pressure from the actual casinos in the state. At which point they were sued for breach of contract by the private companies involved. They chose to settle out of court. That was a wise move, since it was pretty clear that they had breached the contract.

    • echidnina says:

      “The more money the government can get from the lottery, the less they need from taxes. In theory.”

      Here in Ohio all the lottery money goes to public schools, which is nice 🙂

  10. ziglet19 says:

    I buy a scratcher or two occasionally (probably spend $2-3 a month on them) because I think they are fun, but I would NEVER pay $20 for one. Wow. I guess I could save up and not buy any for 6 months, then buy one $20 one, but ugh, it’s just not appealing to me.

  11. jsbrendog says:

    worst waste of money ever. i hate these things. how can someone justify spending $20 bucks on that?

    • Rondo says:

      Sorry for your luck! I justify spending 100 bucks on 5-20 dollar scratch offs and won 3 out if 5! 25,000, 500,000, and 10,000!! That’s how its justified! I’m rich and your complaining because u know ppl are out here winning and your not. LEARN HOW…HOW TO PLAY…and maybe your losing mentality will fade!

      • BOB-O says:


  12. J. Money says:

    haha…hey, you kindly forgot the $200+ we raised for charity on that one 😉 but yes, I’m a stupid head.

    and even more so for buying a $10 one for the first time ever last week! not as crazy as that $20 one, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t interested.

  13. daenyll says:

    I will very occasionally buy a ticket for the draws, normally not when the sums get really high( the odds actually get worse on the higher jackpots), and occasionally I receive scratchers from someone for gifts. But the odds flat out suck, and generally the government uses any proceeds for a slush fund rather than going to schools as was the original mandate for the money where I grew up so I don’t see much point and the government tends to out spend any budget anyway.

  14. saladdin says:

    Most I’ve ever seen won was a friend who won 100k from a scratch off. They have a picture of the 75k check (after 25% withholding tax).


    • Shirley says:

      Several years ago an associate where I worked won several million on the CA Lottery. He was evidently hit by the “new money” syndrome because he returned just a few years later asking for his old job back. Sad.

    • Rondo says:

      Great job!!! Who gives a hoot about the tax taken?!? U have to be greedy S.O.B. to give a damn about the state take! What’s left over is way more than u could ever start with..!!! I don’t care how much they take! I’m going to the bank everytime!

  15. javi says:

    I occasionally buy a ticket when the jackpot is high, but I am amazed when people buy over 50 dollars worth of tickets per game. If they just saved their money, they would be much richer in life.

    • Shirley says:

      These people who spend large amounts of money on lottery or lotto tickets are mostly in the “get rich quick with little or no effort” frame of mind.

      It’s the ‘get something for free’ attitude (and they doubtfully ever count in the money they’ve already lost) that keeps them from saving the money instead.

  16. echidnina says:

    I don’t do gambling, and I don’t do lotteries either. Like the saying goes, it’s a tax for people who can’t do math. 😉

    I can definitely see the appeal in it, though. The thrill of the scratching, seeing if you win anything – I definitely get a kick out of that kind of thing when a fast food place is doing a promotion.

  17. Josh says:

    I rarely do any type of gambling or lottery play. The scratch off cards seem like such a waste, and I notice people looking for the quickest buck for no work happen to be the biggest consumers. I am now in a lottery pool at work, but that’s more to be with the group than anything else. 🙂

  18. Shirley says:

    Many stores, both big and small, sell scratch-offs in either self-service machines or over the counter and the retailer gets a very small percentage of the sales.

    At the beginning of the month when new game tickets come out (and checks come in) sales are very good.

  19. Scratch-offs are so additive and yet so unrewarding. When I was a kid, my grandmother and I would buy an occasional scratch-off, but we actually were pretty lucky. We would win $20-50 pretty often. Since then, she has probably given all those winnings back and more.

  20. The sad thing is that the people buying most of those tickets are the ones who can least afford to waste their money on them. The lottery is a sucker’s bet.

  21. Izalot says:

    Let see buying lotto tickets and losing 38% in a few minutes or buying a hot stock and losing 68% over a few months. Both are speculating just a different poison I guess. At least with the lotto ticket it’s over quickly versus the agony of unrealistic hope of a turn around with the stock.

  22. Soccer9040 says:

    I’m so glad someone took the time to do this challenge! I have always wanted to do it just to see what the results would be. I don’t play the lottery except for the occasional ticket i might get or give as a gift for Christmas or maybe once or twice a year someone at work wants to throw in for a bunch of tickets.

    Don’t play the lottery if you want to get rich, do it if you like to donate your cash to education….without the tax write off.

    I’m glad it goes to education, but its also the pooer demographic that plays constantly. They dont have the money to be wasting on it.

  23. eric says:

    lol I’ve never actually bought a lottery ticket before. Don’t plan on starting any time soon.

  24. thomas says:

    I like the lottery. I realize it is a tax for the stupid. However, if you look at it as an entertainment expense and not an investment, then I see no problem with it. Somebody has to win, right?

  25. govenar says:

    So I guess you didn’t buy one of these?
    Maybe you could buy one and let people bid for it with Bargaineering Bucks (don’t scratch it off until after the auction ends).

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