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 in Missouri. It’s different for every state, but the lottery is very beneficial despite the few problems it can cause to some, in the form of gambling addictions.
Most folks buy instant (scratch off) tickets, and if they don’t win anything, they throw the tickets in the trash. Did you know that every time you throw a losing instant lottery ticket in the trash, you are throwing money away ? Yes, there are literally hundreds if not thousands of folks around the world that would love to buy your tickets from you. I have seen losing lottery tickets sell for as high as $15 each, these were tickets that had no redeemable value. I once went to a local convenience store and asked them if I could have a bag of losing instant lottery tickets I saw they had on the floor behind the counter. The clerk gladly gave them to me, I took the tickets home and after checking through them all, I found two that were $1 winners that were not redeemed, and I sold the remaining losing tickets for $30, and the store was just going to throw them away.
Where did I sell them ? On eBay. I happened to look one day and I noticed there was losing instant lottery tickets for sale on the eBay auction website. There are folks selling non-winning, so called ‘worthless’ lottery tickets on eBay all the time. I just did a search now while writing this article, and I found over 100 different auction listings for them. Who buys these non-winning lottery tickets ? Collectors.
Instant Lottery Ticket collecting is fast becoming a big thing. There are groups and individuals all around the world, that love collecting lottery tickets. There are many websites, discussion groups and forums now just for lottery ticket collecting. In fact there is even a new term or name for an instant lottery ticket collector: LOTOLOGIST, and the instant lottery ticket collecting hobby is called: LOTOLOGY. To see how big this hobby is becoming just visit your favorite search engine, such as GOOGLE, and do a search for: lotologist OR lotology. And you can find many sites collecting, selling and buying used non-winning instant lottery tickets.
One unique website is the ‘Pennsylvania Lottery Merchandise Museum’ – They will buy or accept donations of Pennsylvania Lottery Merchandise. The Museum has all of their lottery merchandise online for visitors to easily view, you can visit the museum at this website address:
There is Computer Software that is made just for collecting instant lottery tickets. The software is called: ‘ Lottery Ticket Collector Professional ‘, you can download and try the software for free at this website address:
By Robert W. Benjamin
Copyright © 2006
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