Scratch-Off Facts

Scratch off games
Instant Games

While much information about Scratch-off games is secret, there is a lot of facts that we’ve been able to determine about them since we started ScratchSmarter in 2011. Here are just a few of them:

It is a HUGE BUSINESS!! It is a $32,000,000,000+ business – YES – 32 BILLION DOLLARS a year!

In fact, the revenue created by Scratch-Off / Instant Games equals the revenue generated by Powerball and MegaMillions combined every year!


A lot of information is published on your state lotteries website about every game. Most states will publish the rules and facts for each game in a report – usually in a PDF format providing critical information about each game. The critical data to understand about every game includes:
Game name, Game number, Game Price, Total Number of Tickets Printed, Overall Odds, Detailed Odds, Prize amount levels, prizes remaining

  • All games will have a specified number of tickets printed – you can find this in the game report OR on the games individual web page.
  • All tickets printed are NOT all immediately distributed to retailers. Most of the printed tickets are in the lottery distribution warehouse waiting to be sent to retailers over time.
  • The total number of tickets printed is a key piece of data – it determines the parameters for each game.
  • The Game Name is usually unique- but not always!  Some lotteries really like some game names a run that same game name over and over in different series.
  • The Game Number is almost always unique- but as Colorado recently started printing the same game number with different names on the front- it’s sometimes hard to tell.
  • Overall odds are the chances of winning a prize (any prize- like a free ticket) based on the number of all prizes printed vs the number of tickets that do not give you a prize
  • Detailed odds are the chances of winning that specific prize level.


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