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November 04, 2015


Hi again, Philip. You are correct that winning tickets are distributed randomly within our instant-scratch and pull-tab games. Not even we know where the winning tickets are within a particular game. That's a mandatory security feature, and one that helps protect the integrity of our games.

So it's possible that most of the winning tickets could be back in the warehouse and never get out.

Hi, Philip. Great question. But no, the odds don't change with whether or not a particular ticket has been played. The odds apply to the game as a whole and to smaller subsets of tickets within the game called "pools" of tickets. So, the numbers are correct. As I've said many times, the world of random statistics is a complicated one! :)

Didn't you leave out one very important fact--That the odds are only correct if ALL the tickets printed for this game are scratched?

Hi, Dan. Your question about the odds in our games is answered here in this blog entry. But your comment goes to show that folks do wonder about that question! In regards to the location of lottery winners, people all across the state -- including in Des Moines -- win lottery prizes every day. If you call up our winners list for the past six months for prizes of $600 or more, you'll see that the first entry on the list is a Des Moines man who won a $1 million prize. There are lots of other Des Moines winners on the list as well. The link is here: http://www.ialottery.com/PDF/winnersforwebsite.pdf

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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!