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July 14, 2017

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Hi, Mike. The lottery games we offer here in Iowa pay a specific percentage of prizes and provide specific odds of winning. We do our best to provide all those details on the pages for our individual games so folks can easily access the information. Game design is a matter of balancing the amount of money going to a game's top prize and its smaller prize amounts. The more you allocate to smaller prize levels, the smaller the game's top prize can be. The definition of gambling involves consideration (meaning something of value that you provide); chance (meaning the chance to win); and winnings. When you receive a $5 prize in a game where tickets cost $5, you are winning a prize, as opposed to a nonwinning ticket where nothing is won.

Why are there so many "break even" scratch tickets in Iowa.It seems that all I buy are losing tickets and break even tickets?Are break even tickets considered by the Iowa Lottery to be winning tickets?If so,why?If you buy a $5 dollar ticket and scratch off a $5 dollar prize,how can you justify calling this ticket a winner when all you did was give the person their money back?

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Mary N
As the lottery’s vice president of external relations, I’m a member of the senior management team at the Iowa Lottery, where I’ve worked since 1999. I’ve spent my years at the lottery learning as much as I can about all the ins and outs of the lottery industry. I’ll put that knowledge to work here so I can share the behind-the-scenes details with you!