I don’t understand why you show games that are no longer available or others that are. For example Massachusetts scratch 10 ticket $200,000 year for life and The Fastest Way To AMillion. Makes me wonder if your site is even accurate.

This is a very valid concern, and it is a concern we hear from almost all of our new subscribers. It’s so common that we have two posts about it. Please read through these posts here:

and here:
We also have several other good posts you can find here:
Now, specifically to the question about Massachusetts lottery. As of the date this question was posted, we do have these games on our report, because the Mass Lottery still publishes data on their website about these games.
If a retailer were still selling either of these games anywhere in Mass, we would be amiss for not reporting our analysis on these games. So, just because you cannot find these games at your local retailer, it doesn’t mean they aren’t available somewhere in your state.
We do, however, have some very specific information about the Mass lottery that will be interesting for you to know.
1) the Mass Lottery does not keep all of its game data in ONE database.
EVERY OTHER STATE where we generate a Best Games to Play Report, as far as we can tell, has standardized the data about every one of their scratch off games into a central database where they track all of the data on each game and publish their selecting information out to their website. Mass Lottery DOES NOT operate this way. We have documented email correspondence from them that shows that they keep all of their game data separate from other games. When they update their website, we believe it is done in a highly manual way.
2) When we submit a Freedom of Information request to the Mass Lottery for game details, they have to pull together, manually, a game liability report.
“Liablity” means they are still liable for these games in the market place. So, if they report the game to us, we have to assume that it is still for sale somewhere in Massacheusetts. When we order an updated liability report from them, it takes up to 3-4 weeks for them to manually compile the information.  We don’t track where all games are sold.  We only report on games the state published data about.
3) We only use the Lottery website as a trusted source for “GAMES ENDED”.
Each state publishes the end date for games differently. Mass Lottery publishes almost NO data about games ended. We request this in our Freedom of Information Requests reports from them, but even then, they’re very poor in reporting the end dates of games.
We can only theorize that they are either very disorganized, being deceitful, or they don’t have standard terms or operating procedures for all of their games. (personally, I believe it is a little bit of all of these reasons).
This is why, we think, their website is so inconsistent in how it publishes game data vs all other state lottery websites where we gather data. We have seen some news stories that claim the Mass Lottery has pulled or ‘ended’ games, but until they publish this data on their website, we cannot take a third party’s update on games, even if the source is a reputable news station. This would open us up to having to make judgement calls on ‘who says what games are still in play’.
4) We do the absolute BEST WE CAN with the inconsistencies in the Mass Lottery website. Our challenges with the Mass Lottery have plagued us since we started ScratchSmarter and we’ve considered dropping this report from our portfolio multiple times. However, every time we talk with Mass ScratchSmarter subscribers, they have begged us to continue our efforts because, as they say “we help clarify the confusion” that is the Mass Lottery.

How can you accurately estimate the number of tickets SOLD since that is not published on my lottery’s site?

This answer depends on the data published on your lottery’s website.  Most lottery websites do not publish the amount of tickets sold.
We’ll use the Arizona Lottery as an example of how we can work calculate the number of tickets sold.
We are able to track how many tickets have sold based on three key data points that the AZ lottery DOES publish:
1) The AZ Lottery provides the total number of prizes remaining at all prize points (from the top prize down to the lowest prize). For example for $1 Decade of Dollars, there are currently 668,067 $1 prizes left on 5/3/18.
2) The AZ lottery publishes the DETAILED odds for every Price Point. For the same game, the odds of winning $1 is 1:8.   This is a fixed value at the time they create the game and doesn’t change over time.  But the prizes remaining does change from day to day.
3) The third data point is WHEN they publish this data.  This is the data point I can’t show you – it is our CODE that scrapes the data from the lottery EVERY SINGLE DAY.  On the first day that a game is published, the first day we scrape it, the PRIZES REMAINING for each prize point would be the MAXIMUM number of prizes.
On the first day, (for example only), the prizes remaining for winning $1 may have been 800,000 tickets.   We multiply the detailed odds times the PRIZES remaining – that gives us the total number of tickets printed. For just the $1 prize, it would have been 8*800,000 =6,400,000 tickets because the odds are 1:8 and the total prizes remaining on day 1 = 800,000.
We store that number in our database.
Then, each and every day, we re-scrape the PRIZES REMAINING posted on the AZ website, do the calculations and compare that to the original total number of tickets printed.  This gives us the Estimated % sold on any given day, directly from data on the AZ Lottery website.
NOTE – We have to do this differently for each state lottery based on the data they do provide.  For your state, we may have to provide a different method to get to the estimate % sold, but the facts are the same – a combination of data provided by the lottery website, combined with daily data mining and data analysis helps our customers get deeper analysis on picking the very best game!

If a game is not on the report, am I to assume it is red?

There are two main reasons why a game may not be on our report.

  • The game is brand new and our scraping code just hasn’t picked it up yet.  Please wait until the next weeks report to see if it shows up.   Most new games end up with a SmartFactor rating of 1.0.  This means they aren’t good or bad to play, they’re just new and the odds from the original print haven’t changed significantly to make the game REALLY good to ply.

PLEASE NOTE: If it doesn’t appear on the next weeks report, please email so we can investigate it.

  • The game has expired. This means it is past the date to claim a prize and the game should not be played at all.

Either way, if you come across a game that isn’t on our list, you should avoid it temporarily until it can be investigated.  There are SO many good games to play in every state that you should be able to find a ‘green’ game to play at any given retailer.

Can’t I just do this analysis on my own?

Yes, you can, if you have the time and the discipline!

We have taken years to build and perfect our database to analyze scratch off games.

At the same time, we’ve invested a lot of money to write custom code to gather all of the data for EVERY GAME on your state’s lottery website.  And we invest in continuing to update this code as the lottery websites change how they publish their data!

For some states, we’ve taken the time to develop our Freedom of Information request process with the state lotteries office.

So, if you know exactly what data to collect to do card card counting, it would still take the average person 3 to 4 hours just to gather the data on every game and put it into a spreadsheet to analyze it. Then, it takes another hour or two to analyze the data to figure out which is the Best Game to Play.

That’s a total of a 4 to 6 hours EVERY TIME you want to analyze the data just to go scratch off a few games!   And hopefully, you didn’t make any mistakes in all of that hard work you just did!

Our reports cost just 38 cents a week and we do all of this work for you!  This includes all of our data quality checks and our perfected card counting algorithm.  Really, it’s just 38 CENTS every week if you subscribe for a year!

You would have to earn LESS than 9 cents an HOUR to make it worth your while to do this analysis yourself! 

Our reports pay for themselves the very first time you use them because we help you avoid the games that aren’t worth playing!

Quite frankly, we can’t understand why anyone WOULD NOT subscribe today!

What does last scrape date mean

‘Last scrape date’ is the date that our code LAST SCRAPED the data from that state lottery’s website.

In other words, this is the last date we gathered data and refreshed our database for our analysis into our reports!   This information is most easily found on our Free Report pages HERE.

Why is this important?  Having the most up to date information from your state’s lottery website means our analysis is as accurate as it possibly can be!  We work extremely hard to ensure that our data is properly and accurately gathered every day and put into our data base for processing.

Our programs run nightly and we verify that everything is gathered and double checked before we compile our reports for our members every Friday!  We put a lot of data validation and processes together to ensure we’re providing you the most up to date analysis possible!

Why do you have games on your report that the retailers say the lottery doesn’t have anymore?

We work extremely hard to make our reports as accurate as possible.
We HAVE to include games that you may not be able to find on our reports for SEVERAL reasons.
Most importantly we’ve found that most states, pull games OUT of circulation before all top prizes have been awarded.  They DO NOT sell every last ticket for every game they print.  The reality is, most states pull games early when they have hit their return on investment and they DO NOT want to award the top prizes.  We have two big write-ups on this subject on our website.
If you don’t have time to read both posts. just know this:  we have to include every game that the lottery reports to us because we do not know if they have managed to collect every game (that they’re pulling early) from every retailer in the state.
So, we have to assume that if the lottery is reporting information on a game on their website, they still have some of those games in circulation somewhere.
The lottery may pull games from circulation early, but that doesn’t mean their team can get to every retailer immediately to pull the extra games.  In fact, in most states, once a retailer has opened a pack of tickets, the lottery cannot take them back.  They have to wait for the open rolls to sell off.
We would be EXTREMELY UNHAPPY if we had a top ranked game that the lottery reported on their website and a customer had a chance to buy that game, but didn’t find it on our report.
What if that retailer had a milliion dollar winner in their dwindling open pack of that game and we didn’t tell our subscriber that was the very best game to play?
We wouldn’t be doing anyone any good.  This is the EXACT purpose of our reports- to help our customers find the VERY BEST GAMES where they could win a top prize.  No matter if the lottery is pulling the game early OR if it’s just been launched.  If we subjectively pull games from our reports, we would be doing a huge disservice to all our subscribers.

Do you only use the very top prize for calculating your Smartfactor? Or do you track the number of high secondary prizes remaining and factor that into the rating?

We use the top three prize levels for each game.  This is usually down to a $1000 prize level for most games, but the prize value isn’t part of our calculation.  We look at prizes remaining for the top three prize levels no matter what the prize $ value is.

Reviewing the latest report for 11/10-11/17 in Pennsylvania and you show only 1 top prize for the 3m Extreme green – 30 dollar ticket, however on the lottery website it shows 3. Was this an error ?

Looking at our report from last week – please go to PAGE 7 of the report for just the listing of TOP PRIZES REMAINING.  On this report, we are showing 3 top prizes for Extreme Green – which is what the PA Lottery Page has posted.
You might be looking at our FIRST REPORT (PAGE 1)
Our PDF report has 4 different types of reports depending on what you’re looking for and these reports are all in the order of how we suggest you should look to buy instant lottery tickets.
If you’re looking for JUST the top prizes remaining report, that is our LAST report, starting on Page 7 in Last weeks report.  We provide this report to answer questions just like yours!  To keep us honest and to make it easy for you to double check that our reports are up to date.
You might have confused our SmartFactor rating with the Top Prizes remaining value on the state’s website.  In this case, yes, we only give the game a SmartFactor Rating of 1.063.
This means that the chances of winning one of those three top prizes remaining is only SLIGHTLY better than when the game was originally released.
Using the SmartFactor as an overall ranking of all GAMES for sale in PA, last weeks report ranks $3Million Extreme Green at #34 of the list (First report in our PDF- Ranking all games from Highest SmartFactor Rating to Lowest).
This means there are 33 games for sale in PA for the week of 11/10/17, with BETTER chances of winning a top prize than $3 Million Extreme Green.

Is there a list of Retailers with the best games in stock?

We’ve been getting this question a lot!  Unfortunately, there is not a database that we have access to that carries the best games in stock.  Inventories are continually changing and the state lotteries will not share this data with us.


My lottery retailer said that your Top Game isn’t for sale any more – why is it still on your reports?

Just because a Lottery Retailer doesn’t have the game for sale doesn’t mean it isn’t for sale somewhere in the state!   Retailers only make about 5% on the sale of a scratch off ticket.  In other words, selling scratch off tickets is a waste of their time.  They want you to just pick from what they have in stock and go buy something else in their store!

Yes, some games do get pulled from the retailers early, but the reason ‘why’ will probably surprise you!

Read more about WHY you might not be able to find the top game here.  Then, decide for yourself if you just want to waste your money on any game the lottery and your retailer wants you to play, or if you’re ready to really try to win big and start Scratching Smarter!