Free Lotto Scratch Tickets?
February 25, 2009 11:07 AM   Subscribe

TX Lotto Filter: Anyone heard of stores giving away free lotto scratch tickets?

I heard that at least one grocery store in San Antonio TX will be letting their employees scratch off old lotto tickets and that they will be splitting the winnings? What I gathered is that it is due to these games being cancelled from not selling well and taking up good lotto space.

It was also said that people off the street can go into these stores and ask for these free tickets because the stores can't scratch off themselves without offering it to the public first.

I've done some searching and am getting blocked here at work. Is there any truth to this? I know this is one of those "to good to be true" but it's worth a shot right? So is this true and where/how can I get my hands on these tickets?
posted by doorsfan to Grab Bag (6 answers total)
It seems very unlikely.

Based on a quick reading of the retailers section of the Texas Lottery Commission website, it would appear that retailers pay for the tickets up front, and are only given refunds in the cases of theft and fire/flood/etc, ie situations outside of the retailers control. They would basically be giving you their own money; try just asking the manager for a $20, the result will be the same.
posted by nomisxid at 11:26 AM on February 25, 2009

No, it's not worth a shot.
posted by rhizome at 12:30 PM on February 25, 2009

Sounds like one of those schemes the cops cook up every now and then to get people with outstanding warrants to turn themselves in.
posted by BobbyVan at 12:43 PM on February 25, 2009 [1 favorite]

What I gathered is that it is due to these games being cancelled from not selling well and taking up good lotto space.

Lotto tickets don't take up much retail space, not even in Texas.

If the tickets had been canceled then they would not award prizes, so scratching them off would be pointless. If they had not been canceled, they would sell them because there would be no reason not to.

Might be worth it to track down who started this crazy rumor to nip it in the bud before it causes too much trouble.
posted by Ookseer at 5:01 PM on February 25, 2009

I am a Lotto operator, but not in Texas or even in the US. That said scratchcard procedures seem to work the same in most places - the retailer is sent tickets, they follow a receipting and activation procedure, sell the tickets whilst the game is still current and then return all old books when the game is cancelled.

The retailer guide provided by the Texas Lottery Commission appears to confirm it works the same way there:

"You may return full packs of tickets that are in Issued or
Confirmed status as long as the tickets have not been damaged. Notify your LSR if you have packs of tickets to return. Refer to damaged ticket information on previous page.
You may return partial packs that have been activated only when a game ends, or in connection with the cancellation of your license or temporary closure. Refer to damaged tickets section on preceding page."

So yeah, there's no reason for them to give them away when they can return them for a refund. Also, lottery retailers tend to view staff scratching scratchies without paying for them theft, because it is. And lottery commissions generally have rules against this sort of thing because it calls into question the trustworthiness of the entire network (a fair necessity when dealing with lottery products).

Basically, no chance. Sorry.
posted by narrativium at 7:04 PM on February 25, 2009

Also, it's worth pointing out that the different 'games' are really just decoration for the product being sold, which is a chance to win a prize from a specific prize structure. The cost of producing new tickets pales in comparison to the cost of paying out the prizes, so no lottery commission is going to have a setup where tickets that didn't sell well were just given away (and still paying out prizes on them despite having received no money), rather than replacing them with new and more popular tickets to sell. That would be an insane business model.
posted by narrativium at 7:09 PM on February 25, 2009

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