What is the smart factor?

The SmartFactor is our proprietary algorithm applied to every scratch off game.
It uses two very critical pieces of data.
One is the total number of top prizes remaining.
The other is percentage of tickets sold. 
The algorithm is the proportion of top prizes remaining vs the % of tickets remaining for sale.  If the proportion is higher than expected based on the odds of winning that top prize, then the SmartFactor value is increased.  The higher the SmartFactor, the better your odds are of winning a top prize.
Essentially, we’re counting cards – just like professional blackjack players do- at the risk of getting thrown out of the casino and banned for life!
While this explanation is rather simple, determining the Percentage of Tickets sold can be a challenge in different states.  We spend a lot of time putting data gathering scripts in place to get just the right data from each states website to calculate this value.

Most states have this data for free? Why should I PAY for ScratchSmarter?

Yes!  Most states do have this DATA for free on their website, but DATA is not INFORMATION.  It isn’t analyzed and you can’t make a smart decision based on data alone.  All data has to be analyzed to become actionable information!

Think about getting the temperature for where ever you are on any given day.  You get the piece of data that says 65 degrees.  That is just data.  You mentally process that data to decide if 65 is good or bad.  If you’re in Alaska, 65 is a HOT summer day!  If you’re in southern Florida, 65 is freezing!!  (I have a sister who lives there, trust me, 65 if cold for her!0

The same goes for instant games.  Knowing that a game is NEW is just a marketing ploy.  Knowing that a game has 1 top prize left – is that good or bad?  What if it has 5 top prizes left?  these numbers are JUST RELATIVE – you need to analyze it to determine if 1 or 5 is good – relative to how many tickets are left for that game and relative to all of the other games for sale that you can buy from!

That is what ScratchSmarter does for you!  We give you that analysis to tell you if a game is, statistically, better to play than last week AND relative to all of the other games you could possibly play today!

I’m, from Tennessee. I’m curious, the number you have listed in your “Best Games to Play” report Giant Jumbo Buck, overall ranking #14 is it correct. When searching for the game number on the TNLottry website, it states there is no matching records found.

We had this game scraped and in our database from our history of scraping the TN lottery.  You can still find the game on the TN lottery website as it is still referenced here:
It’s about 1/2 way down on the first page as of 9/17/2019
WHY is a ‘game ended’ still on our report?

WHY are you missing new games on your report?

Every state lottery website is different!

We have custom software code for every state’s website.

When states change their website, we have to fix our code. Sometimes it takes us a week or more to fix the code and catch the new games.

We are not perfect, but we do try to be. If you see a big miss on our reports, please let us know by emailing us at Be sure to tell us WHICH STATE and which game name and game number (if possible) are missing.

NOTE: please don’t worry too much about new games not being on our reports for a couple of weeks. EVERY NEW GAME starts with a SmartFactor of 1.0 because, there usually isn’t a big sale of tickets in the first couple of weeks, so there won’t be much of top prize odds changing in your favor.  In other words ALL new games will start at YELLOW with a SmartFactor around 1.0. Yes, this means that playing “NEW GAMES” is not a good strategy if you’re really trying to win a big prize!

Now that you’re through the top questions we get from new subscribers…..

Please be sure to check out our Scratch-off 101 details here:

Then, review all of our Video Secrets:

Finally, our FAQ section has most questions already answered here.

What is the “Est % Sold” number on the report? 

“Est % Sold” is ScratchSmarter’s estimate of the total percentage of tickets sold.

For example: If a game’s original printing is 10,000,000 tickets, we can calculate every week how many of those 10,000,000 tickets have sold. (50% would mean there are 5,000,000 tickets sold and 5,000,000 remaining.  The higher the Est % of tickets sold number is, the more difficult it may be for you to find a game in your area.

Follow up question: Why don’t we show the actual number of tickets sold or the actual number of tickets remaining?

  • The percentage remaining is more important than the “actual number” for calculating how odds change. And the EST % sold will give you an idea of how difficult it might be to find a game for sale in your area! The higher the % sold, the more difficult it will be to find that game.

NOTE:: If a game on our report has a very high SmartFactor and is >90% sold, you should be playing that game (if it is in your budget) because the lottery might pull that game soon!  They’re hoping to keep from having to pay out those top prizes and keep that profit for the state!

BUT PLEASE DO NOT START BUYING ENTIRE PACKS OF TICKETS! That is a sure way to lose a lot of money because the odds of winning are still not in your favor.   Follow the strategies we suggest in our Video Secrets for buying tickets!

Remember to play within your budget and let us know when you win! We give out some great rewards just for taking a picture of your winning tickets!  See our REWARDS PAGE HERE!


On to the next most common question: WHY are you missing a new game on your report?


Back to the top questions list!

Which retailers near me have the Best Games on your report?

Now you’re asking the right question!!

Unfortunately, we have no idea which retailers have which games in stock. The only state lottery that has a search function for retailers with “games in stock” is Wisconsin.

It doesn’t look like any other lotteries publish this information. Why?  Probably because its either too hard to keep up to date OR it exposes the lottery to their dirty trick of pulling games early.

PLEASE NOTE: WE STRONGLY SUGGEST THAT YOU DO NOT “CHASE THE BEST GAME” by running around to all of the retailers in your area to find the best game. You’ll go CRAZY running around looking for some of these games (BECAUSE THE LOTTERY PULLS THEM EARLY – Remember Video Secret #3).  Just play the very best games you can find when you want to play!  And remember, you’re Scratching Smarter now, so NEVER play a Yellow or a Red game on our reports – they’re just a waste of money because odds of winning big are ALWAYS better on GREEN GAMES!

You should, however, play from the retailers in your area who do have better games.   Look around, and,  over time, you’ll find that all the retailers are not the same. Some only have bad games and some consistently carry better games!

On to the NEXT most common question:  What is the “Est % Sold” number on the report?

Back to the top questions list!

Why are games with 0 or only 1 top prize remaining still ranked so high on the report? 

We use the prizes remaining for the TOP 3 prize levels for our SmartFactor algorithm.  So, if there are several prizes remaining that are the second or third prize level, our algorithm calculates the updated odds and keep the game ranked higher.

Follow up question you might have: “My state doesn’t publish prizes remaining below the top prize – is ScratchSmarter making things up?”  No, we definitely don’t make up any data!

This is where our Freedom of Information request process kicks in.

We don’t just rely on the lotteries’ website for data. We send requests to many state lotteries for the detailed information on a regular basis to get more data when the state doesn’t publish everything we need on their website!   Since all state lotteries are run by the government, they’re all subject to Freedom of Information requests to provide more data.  (They don’t like it, but they have to give us the data when we file the requests the right way!)

You can read more about this on the webpage we’ve written up about your state. Go here and click on your state to read more!

Another follow up question you might have: Why do we use the top 3 prize levels?  Simple – a 2nd or 3rd level prize is still a BIG amount – usually over $1,000!  And seriously, who WOULDN’T want to win $1,000?!?

On to the next top question: Which retailers near me have the Best Games on your report? 

Back to the top questions list!

My retailer says some of the games on your report have ENDED – What is going on?

Retailers only care about the games they in stock for sale in their store.  They only care about what they can sell you right now!  The Game End Date tells them when they will no longer get a game to sell to you. 

Retailers don’t really care about you and your quest to win big! 

But, we do! 

We keep games on our report until the LAST DAY TO CLAIM date has passed.

The GAME END DATE is the date the lottery stops sending the games out to retailers.    This means the retailers can’t get that game anymore and they can’t sell it to you if they don’t have an open pack in their store.   

But it doesn’t mean that the game is completely sold out!  In fact, it’s probably still for sale somewhere in your area! 

The date that matters to PLAYERS like you is the LAST DAY TO CLAIM date!  

Put simply, if a game has an END DATE OF July 15, 2019, the lottery stops sending that game to retailers on that date.   BUT, if you FIND that game for sale somewhere in your area, and the LAST DAY  TO CLAIM date is July 14, 2020,  YOU can still buy that game and claim any prize you win up until July 14, 2020!

With our report, you’re getting a look at ALL the games for sale in your state, not just what’s for sale at your local retailer.

In other words, ScratchSmarter is worried about YOU winning big by finding the games with the very best odds of winning a big prize, NOT just what one retailer can sell you!  If a game is on our report, it might still be for sale somewhere in the state.  Look around for it!

To learn more about the difference between End Date and Last Day to Claim and why these dates are so important,

ALL lotteries pull games early, especially the games that have the BEST ODDS of winning a top prize because the lottery is always trying to improve their profit!  Keeping games on our reports until the LAST DAY TO CLAIM helps you buy only the very best games for winning a top prize!

Just watch the video, and take a look at the proof below the video – you won’t believe it! Get smarter and you’ll never buy a ‘yellow’ or ‘red’ game again!

Go onto QUESTION #3: Why are games with 0 or only 1 top prize remaining still ranked so high on the report?


Back to the top questions list!

Why do you have games on your report that I can’t find?

We get data from the state lottery website, or, for some states, through Freedom of Information requests.  The state lottery website OR the Freedom of Information Request reports have ALL GAMES that are for sale across the state. If a game is on the website OR on the reports we get from the state, it means it could be for sale somewhere in the state.

We do not know where the games are sold, so we have to report on all the games that we get information about!

Go to the NEXT MOST COMMON QUESTION: My retailer says some of the games on your report have ENDED – What is going on?


Back to the top questions list!

Do you have an iPhone (or SmartPhone) app?

We do not currently have any smartphone apps. Our site is optimized to work on iPhones as well as computers. We mail our reports in PDFs weekly every Friday.

Why don’t we have an app? We have been blocked from advertising our reports on Facebook and Google ads. The Apple App Store has similar Terms and Conditions to Google and Facebook, so we’ve decided not to invest in creating an app as we’re concerned about it being blocked because of apple terms & conditions.