Instant Ticket Facts and Figures

I’ll start off by stating that I have no affiliation with the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) or its retailers. Not only do they not compensate me for this blog, they actually take my money from tickets and offer me nothing in return but “entertainment”.

As I explained in my July 6th post, “Winning the Lottery, Part Two: Scratching the Surface”, OLG provides interesting information on their instant games that every player should check occasionally. It won’t improve your odds; mathematicians insist that can’t be done, but it will steer you toward games that offer better prize structures. You should also make yourself aware before buying a ticket whether your imagined pay-off is even still out there.

Most useful is the Instant Unclaimed Prize Information page. It shows you the possible prizes for any game and the number still available.

But to get a realistic perspective on winning anything, it’s important to know how many tickets are printed versus the number of prizes that are in the pool. That’s contained in the Player’s Guide Fact Sheets. I’ve provided a link to each game below.

These games were at your Ontario lottery retailer as of July 2016. (I’ve added a few for October 2016 and November 2017). The outlet you frequent may or may not have these on display at any given time. As games draw to a close they may be sold out. Some of these games are shared with other provinces so jackpots may not be exclusive to Ontario but then, since picking any winner is blind dumb luck, it doesn’t matter where a winner might be found.

$250 Golden Treasures  is a $30 ticket with nothing smaller than a $30 prize, that is, unless you include the 5 million tickets in Ontario that will provide you with nothing. The ticket has four games of which three are ‘3 identical prize amounts’ and one game of match a lucky number.

The Canadian lottery corp’s have another $30 monster called Multi MillionaireAs usual, it helps to BE a millionaire to afford the risk on this ticket! 12.4 million tickets are scattered across the country of which 3.5 million are worth buying. See if you can figure out which one!

Mega Cash ($20) offers players four games of match numbers and three-symbol picks. National distribution. Fifteen jackpots of $1.5 million but million-to-one odds.

New in October 2017 comes Holiday Diamonds ($10). This is a cross-Canada lottery that clearly intends to snatch Christmas cheer from frustrated shoppers over the next few months. It’s yet another boring “Lucky Numbers/ Your Numbers” game with six $250,000 jackpots.

Continuing on the holiday theme: 24 Days to Celebrate ($20). This one is designed like the month long torments kids got to lead to Christmas. You actually peel open twenty four little flaps to uncover prizes and symbols to match. See if you can do only one per day in December! Jackpots are $250,000 but one and a half million ticket buyers will get a lump of coal.

Crossword Tripler ($5). a needlessly complicated game that some might consider more ‘entertaining’ because it provides more ways to lose.

Bingo Doubler ($5). You get six bingo cards and have to make lines. What fun! Mind you, lots of prizes still unclaimed on this one. Has a regular version Bingo ($3).

Cash for Life ($4). This is probably the grand-daddy of all frustrating tickets, and apparently the one OLG feels compelled to advertise the most. (“How do you feel about Week 31?!”). No fewer than four ‘3 identical symbols’ games and a useless mini-match bonus. Somehow, people have claimed 9 out of a possible 10 jackpots. I would be curious if they claim the annuity or lump sum. (See Rules Respecting Lottery Games paragraphs 5.8-5.13). Be aware that there is a new series (#1172), that has virtually all its prizes intact as of October 18th versus the old series (#1171) that is pretty much fished out.

Money Ball ($3), features a multiplier chance and a racetrack format. Top prize of $75,000 but, of course, there are only three out of 3 million tickets. Players seek out the mathes from “Your Numbers” around the track and hope to scrape off enough for any prize. Be aware that all “Your Numbers” will be found at least once and sometimes twice on the board. Be aware too that the ticket can say “Double” but you didn’t win anything. Kinda cruel really!

Instant Crossword ($3). Devilishly difficult to win anything on these. I mean, more than usual. Jackpots have 2,083,900:1 odds. Like Scrabble, you scratch letters, form words. Hilarity ensues. Be sure you’re playing series #3215. Series #3211 has few prizes remaining, especially no jackpots.

Instant Keno ($3). Keno is an old casino game that bamboozles a lot of folks. There are 80 numbers to choose from and the player gets 20. How can it miss? But of course it does. The combinations are astronomical in number and 20 picks are measly. Four out of five jackpots remain.

I’m not that interested in $1/$2 tickets since prize structures are weak and odds are no better than plopping $10 on a decent jackpot. I will note though that Emoji Money is supposed to be out there, (November 2017), but I’ve yet to see it. Quite simply you scratch a play area to uncover three matching symbols… or not. 3 million tickets are printed with only 5 jackpots of $10,000 to be won. (Odds are 612,000:1 against).

And don’t forget to monitor the Instant Unclaimed Prize Information page.