November 23, 2016

Buying and scratching instant lottery tickets is something that almost everyone has done at one time or another. For some folks it’s probably something they do too often. I guess for me, the bad buying habit is junk food. If I had spent my extra money on instant lottery tickets over the years, I may have been rich by now instead of overweight. Like anything, whether it’s food or gambling one must do it in moderation, and that is often not easy to do.

Here in the state of Pennsylvania where I live, the first scratch off ticket came out in 1975, and they have been a big hit every since.

I have bought instant lottery tickets of every available price range in my state. I usually buy the $1 – $2 tickets, but once in awhile I buy a $5 – $10 ticket, and one time, I purchased a $20 instant ticket. I won nothing on the $20 ticket, not even $1 or a FREE ticket, so that was like throwing away my $20. You would think that with having to spend that much money, they would give everyone at least a FREE $1 ticket or something. I thought afterwards that I was kind of foolish for spending and losing the $20 on one ticket, but heck as they say, “If you don’t play, you can’t win !”, it was a gamble, and I didn’t win that time. I have known two individuals who each won near $20,000 on instant lottery tickets. So I can say for sure, “yes, some folks do win it big.”

Unlike the live lottery that is usually drawn by picking numbers, the instant lottery is pre-determined months ahead of it’s release. The tickets are designed and printed, then they are distributed to the lottery retailers throughout the state. Most small convenience stores offer instant lottery tickets, as well as the large chain stores. You can usually find them in a vending machine with multiple styles and price ranges to choose from, or they are at the cashiers area on the counter or behind a shielded section. Instant lottery tickets sell for as low as $1 and as high as $20 each in most states of the U.S. but some states may have tickets that sell for even more than $20 each.

States do instant lotteries to help fund many different programs. For instance in Pennsylvania, the lottery is used to generate funds to benefit programs for the Commonwealth’s older residents. In Ohio, since 1974, the Lottery has provided more than $13 billion to public education. Annually, the lottery provides about 4.5 percent of the funding needed for Ohio’s public education. In Missouri, approximately 27.3 cents of every dollar spent on the Lottery benefits education programs; 61.6 cents goes back to players as prizes, 5 cents is used for administrative costs and 6.1 cents goes to retailers in the form of commissions, incentives and bonuses. In all, more than 93 cents of every dollar stays …