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October 28, 2021


Hi, Henry. You've done a good job of checking out the details about the odds of winning in lottery games, and I appreciate that. As the info. you've already reviewed has relayed, it is possible in a scratch game to buy eight tickets in a row that do not win a prize. It's also possible to buy eight tickets in a row that are all winners, or eight tickets in a row that are a mix of the two. That's what happens in the random distribution of winning tickets in our games, and it means that no one -- including us at the lottery -- can predict when or where the next big win will hit. I don't know that I can calculate the probability that you have inquired about, but the details you shared show that the game is working as it should. I am sorry you did not win on those tickets and I wish you the very best when you play the next time.

Hi Mary,

I'm trying to determine the probability of an event that I experienced - can you please help me out?

A few days ago I purchased eight back-to-back (e.g. #012-019) tickets of the $100,000 Holiday Crossword scratch game and every single one of them was a loser.

As stated in the blog, each play has overall odds of winning of 1 in 3.29. And in previous blogs, it's been explained that just because a game has a 1 in 3.xx chance of winning doesn't mean that purchasing four tickets guarantees a win. (I've also watched the video that demonstrates this with a deck of cards.)

So basically: In regards to the above scratch game, what is the probability of having eight losing tickets in a row?

Would the probability of having eight winning tickets in a row be different?


Are you aware that some of the Holiday scratch games are nearly unable to be scratched off? The 100,000$$ game is pretty much impossible to scratch the letters.

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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!