CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – Would you buy a scratch-off lottery ticket if you knew you had no chance of winning the jackpot?
The 22News I-Team discovered scratch tickets can remain on sale even after the advertised “big” jackpot has been claimed. It’s something that many consumers don’t know about it, even though the lottery says they’re as transparent as possible.
Christian Teja of the Massachusetts State Lottery told the 22News I-Team, tickets usually stay on the market if there are still any “top” prizes available. In Massachusetts, a top prize is typically anything that’s at least $1-million.
Teja told the 22News I-Team players get upset if they end a game that still has top prizes up for grabs.
“When a game nears its end, when there are only one or two prizes remaining, we get a fair amount of inquiries in terms of which locations are still carrying those games, there’s very much an interest in those games.”Christian Teja
The 22News I-Team did some research to see how common this is.
We found one scratch-off game named “100X The Cash” on the state lottery’s website. The top prize is listed as $4-million, but all five of those prizes have already been claimed. Of the 15, $1-million prizes, there’s just one winning ticket remaining.
That means the big jackpot is no longer available, but retailers can continue selling the scratch tickets for the same price until the final top prize has been claimed, or until the state lottery decides to end the game.
The 22News I-Team also discovered once all of the top prizes in a game have been claimed, getting the inventory out of retail stores doesn’t happen immediately.
Teja told the 22News I-Team the lottery does notify all retail agents and account representatives once the final grand prizes are gone so they can take down the inventory, but it can take state lottery officials weeks to retrieve any unsold tickets.
“Can retailers continue to sell the tickets after the grand prize has been won?”
“Technically, it is possible. In Massachusetts, it takes about four to six weeks to pull all of the remaining inventory.”
Retailers aren’t required to post information on which prizes have been claimed, even when there aren’t any grand prizes left.
Teja said the state lottery tries to be as transparent as possible with their customers. That’s why they make it easy to check which prizes are left before you purchase a ticket.
“If a customer has any question about whether the grand prize remains, they can ask the retail agent. They’re able to print out a listing of all the games and all the grand prizes, so it’s really right there at the agent’s fingertips.”Christian Teja
The state lottery also posts a list of games currently on the market on its website, along with how many grand prizes are still available. The website isn’t updated on a daily basis, but the information retail agents can print out is.
The 22News I-Team counted at least 10 scratch-off games listed on the Massachusetts Lottery’s website that had zero jackpot prizes remaining, which is why if your goal is to become an instant millionaire, you’ll want to do your research ahead of time so you can truly play to win.