Much is being made across the various national media today about a report that some states are selling lottery tickets after the advertised jackpot has already been won. It stems from a USA Today story (media insight: Most stories start with a newspaper article) earlier this week.
About half of the 42 states that have lotteries -- including Florida, New Jersey, Michigan and Tennessee -- keep selling tickets after the top prizes are gone. The states say the practice is fair because lottery tickets and websites disclose the practice. Also, other prizes are available.
And Minnesota? "To your question - we pull all remaining scratch games in a game once the last top prize has been validated and awarded, to a player," Minnesota State Lottery Director Clint Harris told me in an e-mail today.
Apparently the 42 states directors have less respect for the intelligence of their clientele than even cynical me would have thought. As you might guess, my plan for winning the lottery is to find the winning ticket vs. buying it since the odds are about the same.
Since lottery tickets along with any other form of gambling are either a "tax on the stupid" or just a bit of entertainment with little expectations to win. It's the dreaming part that is fun. I am somewhat thrown by this story being a national story and am even more surprised that Minnesota claims to pull the game tickets when the big prizes have been won. I guess it changes the odds if you are computing them day to day, but it doesn't if you look at the long range plan.
Perhaps we need to watch "Forrest Gump" again. "Stupid is as stupid does." If it brings in much needed revenue for the state... Why should anyone know if the big prize is gone? there are still make or break even prizes...