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 affiliates. 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) 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.

Added in recent months are the following: $10 Super Money Multiplier with a multi-game play board based on a match three format. Special symbols give you the multiples. $5 Boom Multiplier is a match number game with a $100,000 jackpot. $3 Year of the Rooster gives you a grid to try to find four symbols in a row. Finally, $2 Electric 8 is a basic match “lucky” number game for a jackpot of $8,888. (I did manage to get the sheet for Electric 8. Note the 815,702 prizes out of 3,042,500 tickets. Further note that 805,045 of these are $8 or less. Just sayin’).

I tried to provide the game facts PDF’s for these but OLG has badly redesigned its website and the links are failing to load.

$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.

Extreme Millions ($20) likewise offers prizes no smaller than the price of the ticket but since there are just over 4.9 million prizes among nearly 14.9 million tickets (spread among all ten provinces) you are still very likely to buy the ‘well-at-least-I’m-supporting-hospitals’ ticket. The game is two, match the lucky number/symbols areas.Top prize of $1,000,000 of which 14 of 25 remain at this writing.

Lucky Aces ($10) This is a match the lucky number game with some bonuses. Uncover an ‘ace’ and win $50, some smaller prizes can be doubled with a ‘2x’ symbol. Top prize $250,000. Number of prizes 418,336 of 1,428,000 printed.

Triple Platinum ($10) Another match game with a $500,000 jackpot and some small bonuses. 2 million prizes out of 6.9 million tickets.

$100,000,000 Diamond Payout ($10). A lucky match main game with two supplementary ‘3 identical prize amount’ games. $1,000,000 jackpot (5 of 12 are claimed). 4.4 million prizes but 14.6 million tickets are scattered across the country.

100X Multiplier ($10). This is a “Lucky Numbers”/ “Your Numbers” game with a wrinkle: IF you match a number you also get to scratch an additional row across the bottom where a randomly placed multiplier can take your prize from 1 or 2 times the face amount to as much as 100X. Of course, the $1,000,000 and $100,000 prizes will only be multiplied 1X.

New in October comes Holiday Riches ($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.

Also in time for the Christmas season is a new $5 ticket with a $100,000 jackpot; in fact, seven of them among 2.76 million tix, (odds 398,000:1). Decorated with safe, secular symbols in twelve rows of three, 25X Merry imitates Wild Card with its match three format. As a bonus a snowman symbol multiplies your prize (max. $20) by 25X and a wrapped present symbol multiplies it 5X (max. $50).

Mission:Money ($5) uses a Mission:Impossible motif that is rather ironic considering the minuscule chances your money will survive this adventure. Simply yet another “Lucky Numbers/Your Numbers” game with an added $25 three-symbol bonus game (30:1), you’ll have no trouble tracking down where your $5 went!

Wild Card ($5). A twelve line ‘3 identical symbols’ game. I love it when they put “You can win up to 12 Times!” on the ticket but fail to add “…or Zero!”. 931,008 prizes but almost 3.6 million tickets.

New for October 2016 is 7 ($5) which is a very lazy way to lose a fiver. The ticket has a big number seven on it. Scratch it. Does any of “Your Numbers” match any of the “Lucky Numbers”? Didn’t think so. Seven people will win $77,777 at some point. Cute right?

Apparently to carry on the multiples of seven theme there’s also 21 ($5). The blackjack-inspired game claims you could “win up to 9 times!” or not at all unless your nine hands beat the dealer.

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.

New in October 2016 although they have appeared before: Fruit Explosion ($3). Players are provided fourteen “Your Symbols” to scratch off any of eighteen types of fruit. Each ticket features the fruit symbols in the same positions, so of course, a second ticket you buy will have the fruit you needed to win the last ticket! Multiple winners possible.

There’s also a new $3 ticket called Wheel of Fortune that relates to the online Wheel of Fortune Lotto. (Give your lottery retailer $2 and the computer will give an instant thrill and a ticket with words on it that can be matched later). There’s four jackpots of $75,000 but of course your odds are 775,600:1. One time in 24 or so you may get a free Wheel of Fortune Lotto ticket where you have 296,000:1 odds of winning $10,000 instantly or 3.3 million to one odds of winning $100,000 in a nightly draw.

Bejewelled ($3) has also been around before. With only a passing reference to the internet game, it provides eighteen co-ordinates to be scratched off a thirty-five square game surface. Players who get three symbols in a row win but scratch carefully: there are rows of winners up to and including the $75,000 jackpot under the latex coating but if you are not given the co-ordinate to scratch, you don’t win the prize. At 764,050 to 1… you won’t.

Sweet Cash ($3). Player has to scratch off rows of fruity symbols to win a prize. Looks easy but there’s always one more kind of fruit you don’t have. Odds against winning the jackpot ($75,000) are 1,066,800:1. Smaller multiple wins are possible.

More Lucky Lines ($3). Bit of a favorite though it offers more entertainment value than reward. It has other iterations including an Asian themed version that mixes Japanese and Chinese symbols. Apparently no complaints from the “cultural appropriations” folks.

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 won’t go into the $2/$1 tickets here except to mention two new ones: Donut Dollars ($1) and Sushi Bar Bucks ($2). Sushi is a simple ‘3 identical symbol’ game with a $35,000 jackpot. Oh, but don’t assume the $2 tickets are any easier than their richer cousins. The odds against winning a jackpot is still 720,625:1.

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