Results of the $100 Scratch Off Lottery Project!

The Lottery Kicked My Ass.For anyone who missed it, on Friday I decided to embark on a $100 Scratch Off Lottery Project.

At first it was purely for entertainment, but after generating some buzz on Twitter I decided to donate all my winnings to charity – specifically Project Hopeful.

Before I get into the results though, I wanted to thank all those who have graciously decided to match my contributions! What started off as a financially stupid game has now ended with a handful of money for our charity :) So a major thank you to JerryB, Sid, Forest, Michele, RainyDaySaver, and Brad – you guys are awesome.

And now, the results:

Well my friends, the party has ended and I feel hungover. For all the build up (and hope) this weekend, the results really blew. As expected as it may sound, I really thought I’d win a lot more than I did! And not because I was feeling extra lucky lately either (which I was) but because I usually win at least every other time when playing on a whim. Like an idiot I was just hoping it would carry over into this little game of ours ;) Oops.

But with all adventures in life, there is always something you can take away from it. I’ll be getting into that in a bit, but first I thought it would be fun to share some interesting stats from this weekend’s project (I created a gallery of pictures too):

  • When placed end to end, the 100 tickets reached 400 inches long! Or roughly 33 feet.
  • Stacked on top of each other it was about 2 inches thick (1 inch if smooshed).
  • The store clerk wrapped all the tickets in a white paper bag. I found this strange for some reason.
  • The odds of winning on back of tickets: 1 in 4.21
  • The REAL odds of me winning: 1 in 5 (20 winners, 80 losers – bleh!)
  • It took me 1 1/2 hours to scratch them all off.
  • Then another 5 mins to make sure I didn’t miss any!
  • I did them all with my right pointer finger.
  • By the end I had a MAJOR headache, followed by weird finger sensations?!
  • I was also frustrated, pissed off, grumpy, and overall just sad.

So, how much did I win? $38 freakin’ dollars. It could have been worse, but it could have also been much better. On the plus side, we generated a lot of money to go out to Project Hopeful! Here’s how it all breaks down – winning tickets & generous matches:

  • $1 winners: 12
  • $2 winners: 4
  • $3 winners: 2
  • $6 winners: 2
  • Add in JerryB‘s match of $38.00
  • Along with Sid‘s match of $20.00
  • And Forest‘s match of $38.00
  • With Michele‘s match of $38.00
  • And RainyDaySaver‘s of $25.00
  • And finally Brad‘s of $25.00

And we come up with a grand total of donations worth $222! Not too shabby for a random experiment, eh? I’m still reeling a bit from not hitting at least ONE winning ticket over $20 bucks (wtf, right?), but I suppose it just wasn’t my time yet…

Takeaway Thoughts:

When all was said and done though, I came away much more enlightened. I wasn’t the happiest person to be around when finished, but I did learn from this. Here is what I wrote minutes after the last ticket was scratched (I wanted to get my feelings down while they were hot & fresh):

Sometimes it’s more exciting thinking about things than doing them. The *idea* of all those lottery tickets was awesome!!! Going to the store and buying them was awesome! The thinking about “what ifs”, the buzz around it, the whole damn thing was awesome – right up until the point of scratch time. That’s when things started sucking.

Gambling brings out the emotions in you. As soon as I began scratching them off I started getting super competitive. And then mad, and then happy!, and then sad, and then nervous, and then happy!, and then pissed, and then lucky!, and then totally embarrassed. Playing the lottery every now and then is one thing, but playing 100 times in a row is a TOTALLY different experience. You know the odds are greatly stacked against you, but it still doesn’t make you feel any better when you lose 15 or 20 in a row. In fact, it seemed I only won in a row, or lost in a row (w/ the losing spurts being much longer). Truth be told, it was an emotional roller coaster.

Giving back is contagious. I was really happy knowing Project Hopeful would be getting all my winnings, but even more so after some of you decided to play along! While I wish I could have won a helluva lot more for them, it really does go to show what a wonderful community we have here. As soon as one person decided to match, 4 others hopped right on board and that really touched me quite a bit :) Before even scratching we had the opportunity to triple our winnings!

There really can be too much of a good thing. The first 30-40 tickets flew by like crazy and I enjoyed every last second of it. But the more I went along from that point, the less fun I started to have, and the more “chore-like” it became. Maybe it would have been better had I hit it big, but I think that’s really the exception to the rule. That doesn’t mean all the buzz and excitement leading up to it wasn’t great (it was the best part!), but the act itself wasn’t all it was cracked up to be.

In Summary

We didn’t hit the jackpot friends, but I’d still call the $100 Scratch Off Project a success! We learned a little, struggled a little, were entertained a lot!, and all in all had a great time experimenting :) You won’t see me doing it again anytime soon, but I’m really glad I can now check it off the list. And on top of it all we donated more than $200 to charity!!! Not too bad for a random post idea…

I hope you guys enjoyed this! And if you want even more of this lottery craziness, check out today’s post over at My Next Buck – It turns out I wasn’t the only one to do something like this ;) Although I do hate him for beating me like that….See you all tomorrow!

PS: For anyone interested in Project Hopeful, here’s some contact info:

Project Hopeful, NFP
P.O. Box 350
Plainfield, IL 60544
Phone: +1 815-823-3297
DONATE: Click the purple “Donate” Button on the right
E-mail: projecthopeful (at) projecthopeful (dot) org

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  1. J. Money February 9, 2010 at 2:04 AM

    Yeah, I know right! Def good stuff…makes the lottery not as "bad" ;)

  2. Vanessa May 25, 2010 at 4:30 PM

    I used the lottery to try and teach a former coworker about odds. It was fun and I got to do a little extra math and made a nifty spreadsheet with the price, printed, odds and then the actual odds of winning one of the top 3 prizes in each scratch off. The Texas lottery updates claims daily (ish) so you can see how many #1 prizes are out there and how many people have already snagged them. I haven’t hit anything big but the psychology and math are interesting. It was fun.
    This is what I learned:
    The odds on at least breaking even go up as you spend more $ unless it’s branded.
    Branded games (movie tie-in, sports team, etc.) have the worst odds. you end up paying $5 prices for $1 odds. but people spring for it because they like the brand.
    The games that are always there are popular for a reason. They may not have the highest prizes (or be fun) but the odds of hitting something are better than the other tickets in that price range.
    and naturally, the best time to play a scratch off is within the first weeks of its release. They’ll keep selling them even if most of the big prizes have been claimed.

  3. J. Money May 31, 2010 at 2:42 PM

    LOVE IT!!! I’m always super fascinated by all things lottery & gambling so I REALLY appreciate you dropping that by :) It’s a shame all my comments got wiped away from my WordPress conversion here as there were some great discussions going on…

    Thanks again!

  4. TJ July 22, 2010 at 10:22 PM

    I was inspired by J Money!

    I was bored on this Thursday night so I decided I’d do a little experiment with CA Lotto scratchers. I took $60 out of the ATM and was going to buy 60 $1 scratchers just to see what happens….Who knows I could get one that wins thousands of bucks right? Why 60? Just because i had some extra cash in one of my checking accounts earning no interest and I was too lazy to transfer it to savings.

    The machine was out of the $1 lotto tickets, so instead I chose three different $2 “games”

    The nice thing about $2 tickets is I only had 30 tickets to scratch off instead of 60. I really had no idea what to expect…and even though the results were pleasing, I do not plan on purchasing any more scratchers any time soon either.

    Game #1: Lucky Tripler:

    Spent $20

    I “Won” $38

    What I Really Won: $18

    Odds of winning on back of ticket 1:4.83
    my actual winning percentage: 20%
    My winning tickets:

    Ticket 1 = 3x $1 = $3
    Ticket 2 – $7 + $11 + $3 +7 + $7..this one I couldn’t believe – one of the winning numbers was 10, and it showed up like 4 times on the ticket – the other number showed up too.

    Probably my first 6 or 7 tickets were all losers, my hopes and expectations were dwindling, then when I got the $35 winning ticket, I was stoked because it just paid for half of my spending!

    Xtreme Green:

    Spent $20
    “Won” $24
    Actually won: $4

    Odds of winning on back of ticket: 1:5.48
    My actual winning %: 30%

    two tickets – both won $6
    one ticket – “win all” – $1 + $1 + $1 + $2 + $1 +1 +$1 + $2 +1 +1 – I was really excited to see the “win all” on this ticket – of course it figures that they were all low number, but who cares, I broke even on this game too.

    Jeweled $7:

    2 free tickets (valued at $2 each)
    “Won” $21
    Really won: $1 + 2 free $2 lotto tickets

    Odds on back of ticket: 1:4.37
    My actual wining %: 40%

    My winning tickets:

    2 of them – free tickets
    1 – 7x $2 = +$14
    1 = matching number = +$7

    On this game, my first three tickets were winnerse, although two fo them were the “free ticket” wins which I don’t consider REALLY winning (but hey – I could redeem it for the $17,000 winner!)

    Then, for all my losing tickets – I have the 2nd chance draw at which I doubt will go anywhere.:

    I totally expected to lose $ – but I made $ on every game! cool beans.

  5. TJ July 23, 2010 at 9:41 PM

    So I said I wasnt gonna go back but I figured what the heck – see if I can win again…today not so much luck. But it was a few hours of entertainment and something like 40% goes to support schools right? :D

  6. J. Money July 23, 2010 at 10:30 PM

    HAH! Ya see that ;) So cool to read all this though, it can get addicting huh? I’ve actually stopped buying them every week like I used to. Although I’ve also stopped going grocery shopping lately too, which probably has more to do with it. Haha…

    I might post up your findings into a new blog post later – you cool with that?

  7. TJ December 26, 2010 at 7:01 PM

    Haha, I don’t care – go for it!

    I haven’t had any luck since the first time. Ive mostly done the $5 scratchers the past couple months. Maybe I should go back to the $2 scratchers. :)

  8. Dom May 4, 2012 at 3:03 PM

    You do realize that those tickets are just an additional state tax on people who didn’t pay attention during math class, yes?

    1. Lily @ The Frugal Gene May 19, 2017 at 2:14 PM

      It’s better than doing drugs! ;) And plus there’s a system!!! You get the newest release and buy as much in a row as you can. Still chance you’ll still get nothing but like Sia sings “Cheap Thrills” :D

      1. J. Money May 19, 2017 at 5:10 PM

        Is there a system? Haha…… maybe I’ll have to try again and copy yours ;)

  9. J. Money May 4, 2012 at 4:27 PM

    I’m sure for some, but for others it’s cheap entertainment ;)

  10. jman November 19, 2013 at 8:17 AM

    One of the more creative money-for-problem-gambling scams ive seen. I like how the amount of money spent is never dislclosed . Nor any receipt shown of any charity ever paid. Wonder how much this person won, on top of the big ripoff of friends.
    And you know what if by the slim 2% I am wrong then what you did is just as bad because you should know basic mininum facts about the things you do, particularly if it involves money. And if you did not see how obviously people will perceive this as having been a scam then you don’t know much at all about gamblers or gambling. There is not much to say, its easy to explain: 1. Money or financial gain. 2. Any damn way possible .

    That includes yours. This was in my opinion a transparent scam. And at best…if it waa a little game it was wreckless and thoughtless.
    Either way this was wrong. The whole idea of raising charity money through 4 to 1 odds dimestore scratchers is preposterous. God only knows what really happened here. Get this mess off the ‘net before you inspire more scammers.

  11. J. Money November 19, 2013 at 4:59 PM

    God indeed knows, you’re right :) And hopefully you come across a number of other genuine people doing good in this world so that it helps skew your initial impression of stuff you come across in your searches.

    Not to say being skeptical is unwarranted – it totally is, especially when you don’t know the people involved at all – but hopefully over time you can find reason to give others the benefit of the doubt rather than wish they “get this mess off the ‘net” without knowing the facts.

    There’s a lot of people doing great stuff in this world, and we need as many of them as we can get. I thank all those who donated on behalf of this project again!

  12. Lucky Scratcher January 24, 2015 at 6:13 PM

    bought a twenty dollar ticket today, scratched it and won $500,000 yesterday here in Texas

    1. J. Money January 31, 2015 at 3:48 PM

      Well hot damn! What are you doing here online? Figuring out how to stash your new winnings? :)

  13. scratch dees April 11, 2016 at 12:48 PM

    So funny I did this friday nite bought 100 $1 scratchoffs made a bet with my friend we would get atleast a hundee back…I won 302.00 went back and spent 75 on the 5 dollar scratchoffs and won nothing still cleared 2 bills and beer and smokes had fun wondering what was gonna happen

    1. J. Money April 11, 2016 at 2:08 PM

      Nice! You fared much better than I did back in the day!

      1. Verna Elmore February 5, 2017 at 4:38 PM

        I no I’m late with response but I’m going to do it 2 with a hundred or 300 I feel lucky.

        1. J. Money May 19, 2017 at 5:09 PM

          Let us know how it goes!

  14. Raul November 27, 2017 at 6:46 PM

    Funny I won $2,500 and they took half cause I was on public assitance,which i never have and yet they give the run around to return you money

    1. J. Money December 6, 2017 at 3:28 PM

      Ugh… at least it was all free money! Could be worse problems! :)