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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:
https://www.scratchsmarter.com/info/
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!

How can you tell the game number on a scratch off you are about to purchase?

Unfortunately, you probably can’t.
If you’re buying from a retailer over the counter, just ask them.  They’ll look and tell you the game number.  Make sure they’re not telling you the ticket number on the front of the card.  Ask for the game number on the back of the card.
If you’re buying from a machine, it’s basically impossible.  You’ll need to buy one ticket and look on the back of that ticket to see the number.  It’s usually the very first or very last digits of the really long number at the top or bottom of the back of the card.
If there is more that ONE game number with the same Game Name (marked with an Asterisks (*) on our report, our experience has been that we’ve only ever found the lower ranked game in a machine.

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 INFO@scratchSmarter.com 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!