I'd like a lottery playing machine. And now that my grandma is passed, I need it to be electronic.
September 26, 2011 12:42 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for some software to play the lottery. Does this exist?

I'd like to try something as an experiment. I'd like to spend 100 dollars a month on lottery tickets for two or three of the big lotteries (power ball, megamillions, the big state ones). The problem is, you get 100 quick pick tickets from different sources, you gotta check 100 tickets to different sources.

So my question is, is there any kind of USB reader with software that's designed for this sort of thing? Like those card scanners you put your business cards into that strip the info out and put it into your address book. Does anyone make anything like that for lottery tickets? Or is there some sort of software that makes things easier? Basically I'm looking for way to make this as easy as possible. Or at least as thorough and effective as my late gambling addicted grandmother.


posted by rileyray3000 to Technology (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Any such scanning solution will easily be more expensive than just typing 100 numbers into a spreadsheet.
posted by odinsdream at 12:47 PM on September 26, 2011 [2 favorites]

Most of the places that sell tickets have scanners that allow them to scan large quantities of tickets and check for winners easily. I'm sure you could buy such a scanner, if you wanted. (Actually I've seen one, for a different purpose.) The problem would probably be getting the data feed from the various lottery agencies to check the tickets against.

Honestly, what I'd do is forgo having your own scanner and just buy the tickets and periodically (every few months) take them back to a location with a scanner and have them do the work. If you have to go to 3 different locations, maybe do a rotation where you only go to each one once a month -- most winning tickets are valid for a year, so there's no huge hurry (well, lost interest income, I suppose).
posted by Kadin2048 at 12:54 PM on September 26, 2011

If you do want to get a USB reader you can probably just scan into excel and then write a formula to check for winners.
posted by ghharr at 12:56 PM on September 26, 2011

Do you have a smartphone? There are Android apps for exactly this purpose. You take a picture of the ticket and it checkes the numbers.

Search the Android Market by the name of the lottery you want to do it for. I presume the iPhone has similar, but have no way of checking this.
posted by bonehead at 1:05 PM on September 26, 2011 [1 favorite]

The smartphone apps rely on OCR to read the numbers which makes since. The bar code on the tickets are what the lottery uses to look up the ticket in their proprietary database. So there won't be an app for a computer or smartphone that reads that barcode. A USB-based scanner that would do this functionality be pretty specialized. I presume one could write a PC or Mac app that does the OCR from a scanner and bounces those numbers off the winning numbers from the state/mega websites. I doubt such an app exist.

What you could do is instead of buying 100 quick pick numbers a month, but the same 100 numbers and then have a spreadsheet where you can add each drawing's numbers and do a lookup to see which numbers hit. I think you can just reuse the same scan-tron like forms each time. Picking random numbers each time versus the same 100 numbers will have a negligible impact on your overall odds of winning (and the difference in winning more than $2-4 a month when buying one ticket versus 100 is also negligible).

But the easiest way is to go to a lottery retailer and just use the scanner on that machine. On the bright side, if you do win a few bucks, you'll be right there to collect. The grocery store by my house has a self-service kiosk to sell/check tickets and is usually empty of people.
posted by birdherder at 2:37 PM on September 26, 2011

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