A player question that’s come our way is one we see a lot. So here is the Q-and-A in case you’ve wondered the same thing.
Q: Why does the lottery pull a particular scratch game from the market?
A: As part of our standard procedures, we end sales in our scratch games for a few different reasons.
While we have dozens of games for sale at any one time, there are only so many bins for tickets in our vending machines and only so many slots for tickets in our dispensers. That means some retail locations simply don’t have enough room for all the games that are out there, and the retail location can decide which games it wants to sell.
Most often, we discontinue sales in a particular scratch game when the last top prize in it has been claimed. We don’t want a game on the market if you don’t still have the chance to win its top prize!
Sometimes we have specially-themed games that are only set to run for a short period of time, like our holiday games. Those games come off the market in January each year because it just wouldn’t make sense if we were selling “Merry Crossword” in July! But the good news is, we work hard to keep the odds of winning the same in those games as they are in others that are on the market for much longer.
At other times, if a game has been available for some time and players show us through their purchases that they prefer something else, it also will be removed from the shelves.
People’s reactions to our procedures sometimes make us chuckle because they can be so different. We’ve gotten complaints from players who don’t want us to ever end a game at the same time we’ve heard from others who want to make sure that we very definitely are doing that, especially when the last top prize has been claimed.
In the end, we just have to concentrate on doing what we think is right. Throughout the Iowa Lottery’s history, we’ve designed our policies to err on the side of players as much as possible. A good example of that is the expiration date for prizes in our games. If a prize expires on a weekend or holiday when our offices are closed, we give you until the following business day to claim the prize. We think that’s only fair.
We’ll keep doing our best to come up with fun, new games to replace those that are ending!