What are the real detailed odds of winning a scratch-off game? Why does it matter?
Detailed odds are the exact chances of winning a specific prize. Since all scratch-off games are preprinted, the lottery has to set the odds for different prize levels into the printing.
Why does this matter? Detailed odds are a critical piece to really understanding scratch off games. Unlike the “Overall Odds” pagewhich represents the overall odds concept with different colored marbles in a bag, detailed odds are much more complex. Detailed odds are where the real variation happens when the lottery is creating and launching new games. We can explain detailed odds best by working with a real example from a $30 game that was for sale in the Florida lottery.
If you’ve ever dug into your lottery’s website you’ve probably seen a chart like this:
This chart looks incredible official, doesn’t it? It looks like these are the odds for this game and they’ll never change, right?
The truth is: EVERY Scratch-off game is weighted so heavily with the bottom prize level (in this case the $30 and $50 winning tickets) just so they can produce an ‘overall odds’ calculation for the game. The overall odds of winning any prize for a game stays the same for the life of the game, but the DETAILED ODDS of winning the TOP prize changes SIGNIFICANTLY over the life of the game.
In fact, the odds of winning a top prize sometimes change SO MUCH in your favor that the lottery PULLS the game from circulation early, just so they don’t have to pay out the top prizes!
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