Statistician cracks secret code behind lottery tickets

RJOh's avatar - chipmunk

Even if someone figured out which tickets in a roll were more likely to be winners, they couldn't buy them out of the middle of a row of tickets unless they were a clerk or store manager selling them and waiting for the winners to come.  And even if they were smart enough to spot such a flaw in the design of the tickets, they would probably (as he suggests) have a more profitable way of making a living.

Harve$t Moon's avatar - 5str
In response to Todd

"...the lottery corporation needs to control the number of winning tickets. The game can't be truly random. Instead, it has to generate the illusion of randomness while actually being carefully determined."

The system is slowing unraveling, but the industry is here to stay! It will just get more clever.


I have lost everything i got on the lottery. I know I'm gonna get them oneday. The lottery is a rippoff pplz. I regret that played

waltoy's avatar - Lottery-050.jpg

I'm going to play until i get mine and i know  i will get mine soon, and very soon,cant waitHurray!

Jon D's avatar - calotterylogo

I never liked those scratch games with the exposed elements, these "extended play" games like crossword, bingo and tic-tac-toe.

Mainly because it took too <snip> long to figure out if you won! And that translucent blue covering over the letters was sticky and messy, unlike the dry scratch off for regular scratch games that brushes away. Played them couple of times and then never again.

Now with this report, I have one more reason to hate those types of scratch-off games, the higher potential for fraud.

This post has been automatically changed by the Lottery Post computer system to remove inappropriate content and/or spam.

In response to RJOh

Retailers here have trays where they rip tickets from the roll and put on display for sales so the customer picks what ever ticket he wants.

So the customer never sees the roll.

sully16's avatar - sharan
In response to Harve$t Moon

I agree, I can only wonder what kind of turmoil will be created as people go to buy scratchers, when this gets around , and it will ,we know now.

In response to RJOh

A store owner or a clerk would have access to the tickets and remove what they believed to be the winning tickets and sell the rest. They would know amount of the prize and wouldn't buy the free tickets or tickets that paid off in equal value and sell them to customers. If their method had a 60% accuracy rate, they would make a nice profit.

"And even if they were smart enough to spot such a flaw in the design of the tickets, they would probably (as he suggests) have a more profitable way of making a living."

It would depend on the sales volume of the store but remember when the Ohio Lottery replaced Super Lotto Plus with Lot 'O Play because their Bingo scratch-offs were so popular. Those Bingo tickets had the same design as the tic tac toe games in the article. I don't know about making a living but a clerk or store owner could have supplemented their income nicely.

In response to sully16

Many state lotteries are using vending machines and maybe because they knew that problem existed. They may have instructed their retailer not to buy back unscratched tickets too.

The scandal would be acknowledging their games were flawed and this way they could quietly go about their business as if it never happened.


Random does not exist,  it just seems like random when we don't know all the details.  I think I heard

this somewhere before.


time*treat's avatar - radar

The stores around here sell scratchers right off the roll from clear plastic display cases. ALL of the "YOURS" and "THEIRS" numbers on the ticket are covered, and I've never seen anyone try to buy tickets out of sequence.

Best line:

Srivastava: "People often assume that I must be some extremely moral person ... I can assure you that that's not the case."Green laugh

That's what you want to hear from a statistician. He has a future career in calculating gov't CPI numbers. LOL

Guru101's avatar - rw6jhh

You can't buy tickets out of sequence here. Also, in Indiana, store owners and employees are not allowed to purchase tickets from their place of employment. They have to go to another store.


Then there is the less complicated embezzlement strategy.

ttech10's avatar - blobdude

I'll read the article later as it's rather long, but from the pictures it looks like you'd have to not only buy but also scratch off half the ticket in order to see if you've won or not... so how is this "cracking a code"? I could see it as that if it allowed you to figure out a ticket was a winner without having to scratch anything, but not when it's something like the pictures suggest.

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dr65's avatar - black panther.jpg

That was one long story. If he was a trash man and made that discovery, would anyone listen or care? Or would they be laughing and tell the other

side of the story which is - to do what this guy is suggesting can be done (although he did change his mind and kept his job) a person would

have to have access to books and books of tickets, time to study them, time to choose which they were going to buy and then scratch them off to

win $10 at a time? They would also need the time to travel to other stores looking through endless books, have permission to do so from store

owners, scratch the ones they chose to find out if a 70% success rate still held does not make a whole lot of sense to me. In fact, for

one person to accomplish finding a top prize by charting patterns on scratch offs, makes no sense to me. Just buy a darn ticket and hope for the

best. This whole thing started because he won $3? That's just plain assinine for a hundred reasons. If I cracked a code, I sure wouldn't want

it to be the one winning $3 and $10 at a time. And, what if the top prize is 50 miles away from his starting location? How many stores can

one person hit and how many years would that take? Probably just enough for the game to end because someone else found all the top prizes

before he did.  What? Just because the guy can find gold doesn't mean he can find the big one. Wow, let me get back to my numbers...or anything

at all that makes any sense. I think I'll go and see what pumpi has to say lately.

sully16's avatar - sharan
In response to Stack47

good point, I wouldn't buy a loose scratcher from a clerk, I would but one from a vending machine.

chasingadream's avatar - Archangel 01.jpg

This is old news. I discovered the code on scratchers a few years ago when I was working in a gas station in South Carolina. I still don't play them though.... I'm not a scratcher person.

butterflykt's avatar - Lottery-043.jpg
In response to waltoy

I agree with you!

sully16's avatar - sharan
In response to dr65

LOL Makes me scratch my head, He cracked the code for 3 dollars, at least magathing got 7 dollars.

In response to chasingadream

Well I have no idea if you are serious or not, but if you think you really have, I would love to hear it. I am a scratcher person.

chasingadream's avatar - Archangel 01.jpg
In response to CarHauler

I don't think it would be a good idea to share something like that........besides it takes away from the winning experience. Just play for chance like everyone else and don't cheat. Cheaters never get very far anyway.


Besides......the specifics for your state may be different than the ones I have noticed the pattern with........

TheOtherOne's avatar - Lottery-027.jpg
In response to chasingadream

Actually the scratcher games for SC and TN are not that different (neither is GA).

So we would be interested in hearing some pointers you say you have discovered...besides, they probably arent as secret as you may think.

I grew up in SC and have family there still, so I go back fairly often while living in TN. I travel through GA so I have been able to compare many of the scratch offs.

RJOh's avatar - chipmunk
In response to chasingadream

It's not cheating if you're just smarter than the other players, besides any win is thrilling even if you have an advantage.

DoctorEw220's avatar - alien helmet.jpg

After reading this article, I don't think I'm nuts about something I've noticed here in PA anymore.  On the $5 Crossword game (and quite possibly the $3 one), if any of the words on your crosswords has the letter "Q" in it, you win (or at least break even.).  I don't think I've lost when I've had the letter "Q" in any of the words in the crosswords.

3End of comments (3 pages)

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